In 1992, a federal siege occurred in Boundary County, Idaho, at a location known as Ruby Ridge. The eleven-day siege lasted from August 21-31 and resulted in the deaths of one U.S. Marshall, and the wife and son of Randy Weaver, the target of the siege. This event captured the attention of the nation. To secure the land around this seven-person home composed of three adults and four children, the federal government saw fit to send in hundreds of federal agents, as well as associated vehicles and air support.
The reasons for the siege are not pertinent here, but the fact is many lessons were learned as a result. Those lessons revolved around Rules of Engagement, the use of force, and other legal concerns. One would have hoped the lessons would be applied in future encounters, but in 1993 the same FBI Hostage Rescue Team commander took part in the siege and raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. After fifty-one days, the compound was breached and seventy-five people were killed, including twenty-five children. Nearly thirty years after Ruby Ridge, it seems that the only real lesson federal agencies applied from Ruby Ridge and Waco is that they needed to do a better job of keeping their activities out of the eyes of the public. Why? Because a similar event occurred in Western Montana on February 2, 2021, and it’s likely you’ve not heard anything about it.
In the early Tuesday morning hours, motion sensors alerted the occupant, hereafter referred to as John Doe (names have been changed to protect the innocent) that there was movement along the driveway to his home. Given the time of day, the location of the home, and some recent history that will be discussed later, Doe knew he needed to react, but in a non-threatening manner. His decision was to put on a pair of pants, remain barefoot and shirtless, and move to the front porch with his hands raised in the air. What appeared in the driveway was the lead vehicle of three BearCat armored personnel carriers – commonly referred to as personnel tanks (pictured left) – in a convoy of over thirty total vehicles.
The BearCats are armed with a rotating turret for housing customer-specific weapon systems. Five gun ports are located on each side of the vehicle, and an additional two on the rear. The vehicle are often equipped with .50 BMG or 7.62mm rifles. It is a military-grade vehicle often used by U.S. Special Forces and the Australian military.
But on this day, they were cruising the Flathead Valley with thirty other police vehicles in tow.
Also surrounding the house were one-hundred-plus federal agents with a helicopter in support. Federal agents immediately took Doe into custody and placed him in loose-fitting flex cuffs into the back of one of the BearCat vehicles. Inside the vehicle, John was placed on the outer wall, and at his feet were loaded weapons. Doe later concluded that this had to be a setup, for if he were to try to free himself, he would likely be killed. Seemingly unbeknownst to the Feds, Doe’s 88-year-old mother (who suffers from dementia) was asleep in the house. The actual homeowner, Jane Doe, was also in the home. This is why Doe wanted to avoid confrontation and the stress of such an event by presenting himself peacefully. What looked to be a quick and peaceful resolution then took a strange turn to the worse.
Why did agents breach the house when Doe was already in custody? Counter to standard practice, the team chose to enter a window next to Doe’s basement door. That window is over three feet off the ground and thus difficult to breach and enter by a team that needs to move fast. There are many windows in the house that would have made a breach entry a lot easier. This window was different, not only in its height above ground and the resulting impact on the tactics used, but it is also right next to Doe’s bed. If Doe had not exited the house and moved to the front porch to peacefully present himself, the concussion grenade employed by the breaching team would have landed on him while he was sleeping. There’s no telling what would have happened in that instance, but John’s death is a possibility.
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Federal agents obviously knew the home’s layout and they immediately entered Doe’s storage and security room and disconnected all security cameras while conducting a search. Though not included on the warrant, the federal agents searched John’s gun safes, a detached garage, and vehicles parked around the residence.
What provoked this Montana this raid? Doe’s former girlfriend from North Carolina filed a restraining order (a civil matter, not criminal) against Doe in that state claiming he was homicidal, suicidal, a threat to her, and had bomb-making materials with the intention to cause harm. She also claimed he had booby traps all over the home and the surrounding property. But none of this was true.
Doe does in fact hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and is licensed for all weapons, ammunition, and powders on his property. Given this fact, federal agents can request to see all his material at any time, no siege required. Circumstances brought Doe back to Montana and, despite the foregoing, a restraining order secured under false information in North Carolina caused a massive raid in Montana involving federal agents from around the country.
According to the Constitution, federal operators may not engage in law enforcement activities without the permission of the local county sheriff, something that is often overlooked and ignored, which is the case here.
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Doe was not read his rights until two hours into the event. He was eventually transported to the Flathead County jail by a Deputy Sheriff who was not aware of the preceding events until well after the fact. Doe was released three days later on his own recognizance. Jane was never read her rights despite being questioned by federal agents. John, Jane, and John’s mother were not the only victims of this raid. John’s neighbor, who shares a long driveway with him, was detained in handcuffs for two hours as he left for work. A close friend of John’s heard what had happened and was detained when he went to the house to check on his well-being.
On March 5, Doe and his neighbor both received mail that contained a list of confiscated weapons, but no ammunition was listed despite it all having been confiscated. The list further contained only about twenty percent of the total number of items taken. The address listed on the paperwork was John’s neighbor’s house and it remains unclear why both homes received the notice.
As of the date of the publication of this article, there continues to be a news blackout of this event. John has not been charged with any federal crimes, gun-related or otherwise. Jane has had to pay over $4,000 in out-of-pocket repairs for property damage to her home caused by the breaching team and the subsequent search. (She has received forms to request reimbursement from the Feds). Doe has had to pay thousands of dollars for legal representation.
The Feds spent thousands of tax dollars to execute this raid with agents from around the country, even as far away as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Virginia. Now that Joe Biden is so focused on removing the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution, these actions could become the norm. Americans will be made criminals as unconstitutional measures such as H.R.8 and H.R.127 pass through the U.S. House, on to the U.S. Senate, and ultimately to Joe Biden’s desk. Let us all hold accountable the government that works for We the People, because what happened to John is not what America is supposed to be.
[Editor’s Note: The Montana Daily Gazette stands by the veracity of this report from a field reporter and we believe the Legacy Press has been intimidated into silence by the federal government. Names have been changed to protect the innocent]