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LA animal rights activitists await hearing

Posted: July 10, 2014 9:09 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2014 9:06 p.m.
 

CHICAGO (AP) — Two animal rights activists from Los Angeles are accused of setting off on a cross-country trip last summer with the aim of freeing animals from farms that raise minks and foxes for furs.

The two suspects, Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson — also known as Kevin Olliff, were named in an indictment detailing allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice. Both are accused of conspiring to “travel throughout the United States...for the purpose of damaging and interfering with the operations of animal enterprises,” including mink and fox farms in Illinois, Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Samborn said in a news release.

In August 2013, the two allegedly released about 2,000 minks from a mink farm in Grundy County in Illinois. In addition, they’re accused of painting “Liberation is Love” on a barn at the farm, the news release said. Damages at the mink farm were estimated at $10,000, Samborn said in the release.

Lang was arrested Thursday by FBI agents in El Segundo and was scheduled to appear Thursday afternoon in Federal Court in Los Angeles before facing further court proceedings in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Johnson was in custody in Woodford County, Illinois, and both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Federal Court in Chicago on July 29.

Also last summer, the men tried but failed to break into a fox farm Roanoke, Illinois, near Peoria in central Illinois, the indictment says.

The two-count indictment charges them with conspiracy and intrastate travel to damage and interfere with the operations of an animal enterprise. A conviction on a single count carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

A website, supportkevinandtyler.com, solicits donations for the pair’s defense and contains a statement from Tyler explaining the “commitment” he and Johnson have made to freeing caged animals.

“The commitment we have made is to the animals, and our responsibility is to them,” the statement reads in part,
 

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