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Federal charges filed against men suspected in mink farm raid



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A grand jury has indicted two people for releasing hundreds of mink from a South Jordan farm and attempting to do the same in Hyrum.

This indictment was unsealed today and charges William James Viehl, 22, and Alex Jason Hall, 20, with damaging and interfering with animal enterprises.

It ties back to a case in August of 2008 when 300 mink were released from the McMullin Mink Farm in South Jordan, resulting in $10,000 in damages.

The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for that raid, as well as one the next month in Kaysville where 6,000 were released.

In South Jordan, they spray painted "No More Mink, No More Murder" and "We are watching" on the farm. The two men are also charged in an attempted attack in October at a mink farm in Hyrum.

As the prosecution goes forward, authorities are cautioning farms about possible sympathy attacks. "We know many in the same organization over the history in this state, and others, have indicated a willingness to go to whatever lengths to pursue their agenda, be it arson, bombings, releasing mink," said Brett Tolman, U.S. attorney for the state of Utah.

Both Viehl and Hall were arrested today and will appear before a federal judge tomorrow. The charges carry up to six years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

Tolman says this case is ongoing. His office is looking into other similar raids on mink farms, including the one in Kaysville. Many of the mink released there were hit by cars or died from the elements.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

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Sarah Dallof

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