Animal rights activist arrested in Calif. - Former Island man wanted since 1998, suspected of freeing minks in Wisconsin

By Ruth Longoria

A former Island resident arrested for shoplifting Monday, March 21 at a San Jose, Calif., Starbucks is expected to be in federal custody soon to face charges he eluded six years ago.

After the San Jose shoplifting charges are sorted out, Peter Daniel Young, 27, is expected to be back in FBI custody and extradited to Milwaukee, Wis. According to LaRae Quy, a spokeswoman for the FBI's northern California district office, Young is wanted on a 1998 arrest warrant for releasing 3,600 animals at Wisconsin mink farms in 1997 incident.

Quy credits the quick-thinking San Jose police officers for Young's capture.

``It looks like he picked the wrong place to rip off and the police were really on top of it,'' said Quy.

Quy said several police officers were already in the Starbucks on March 21, when Young entered the coffee shop and began acting suspiciously. After police arrested Young, he was taken into custody and fingerprinted. That's when police discovered the 1997 arrest warrant.

The warrant stems from charges that Young and a former University of Washington student, Justin Clayton Samuel, 27, of Snohomish, raided several Wisconsin mink farms and released 3,600 animals from their cages. A list of the targeted farms was posted on an Internet Web site, maintained by Animal Liberation Front (ALF), an eco-terrorist organization.

``In October 1997, Young and Samuel allegedly set out on a cross country trip to attack fur farms and release livestock with the intent to cause significant economic damage to the farms,'' according to information released in 1998 from the U.S. Attorney's office in Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin was allegedly targeted because it is one of the largest mink producing states in the country.

Samuel and Young were arrested outside another fur farm, which they were allegedly canvassing, when a farmer recognized their car and descriptions from information released by the FBI. Lists of mink farm addresses, dark clothing, masks and fence-cutting equipment also were found in the car.

A federal grand jury indicted Samuel and Young on six counts of interfering with interstate commerce and engaging in animal enterprise terrorism, the court documents said. However, both men fled authorities. Samuel was eventually arrested in Belgium.

On Aug. 30, 2000, Samuel pleaded guilty to the charges and implicated Young in the incident. Samuel was sentenced to two years in prison, one year of surveillance, and $364,106 restitution to be paid to the mink farmers. Samuel is currently incarcerated in Chicago, Ill., said Mike Johnson, FBI media representative in Milwaukee, Wis..

Although Young was never implicated in any of dozens of other ALF eco-terrorist activities across the Northwest in the past several years, Mercer Island was the target of many such animal-rights incidents.

Between March 23 and Oct. 6, 1996, there were six incidents in which Island businesses, such as an espresso stand, McDonalds, Baskin-Robbins and Subway, were reportedly painted with ALF slogans. ALF and ELF (Earth Liberation Front) have claimed responsibility for many destructive acts, including fires, glued locks on businesses, smashed windows and mink farm raids.

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