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United States v. Lang

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 23, 2015


For Kevin Johnson, administrator, Kevin Olliff, Defendant: Michael Edward Deutsch, LEAD ATTORNEY, People's Law Offices, Chicago, IL.

For Tyler Lang, Defendant: Geoffrey McDonnell Meyer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Defender Program, Chicago, IL.

For USA, Plaintiff: Bethany Kaye Biesenthal, LEAD ATTORNEY, AUSA, United States Attorney's Office (NDIL), Chicago, IL; Pretrial Services.

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AMY J. ST. EVE, United States District Court Judge.

The government filed an application to obtain historical cell site information and toll record information reflecting incoming and outgoing calls and text messages for Subject Phone 3, a phone used by Defendant

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Lang. Defendant Lang objects to the application. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the government's application.


Defendants Kevin Johnson and Tyler Lang were charged in a two count indictment with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. § 43. Count One charges both Defendants with conspiring to intentionally damage and cause the loss of real and personal property, including animals and records, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 43(a)(2)(C). (R. 1, Indictment, at 1.) Count Two charges both Defendants with using a facility of interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of damaging and interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 43(a) and 43(b)(2)(A). (R. 1, Indictment, at 3.)

I. The Arrest of Defendants

The government subsequently filed an application pursuant to the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d), seeking an order directing the service provider to provide historical cell site information and toll record information for Subject Phone 3. The application seeks this information for the time period of May 1, 2013 through August 14, 2013.

The government submitted an affidavit from Federal Bureau of Investigation (" FBI" ) Special Agent Maureen Mazzola in support of the application. (R. 65 at 6.) Agent Mazzola identified the " reasonable grounds to believe that the information sought in the attached Application pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703 is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation [and] will lead to relevant and material information in the investigation and prosecution of Tyler LANG and Kevin JOHNSON for conspiring to vandalize and/or damage an animal enterprise...." (R. 65 at ¶ 3.)

On August 14, 2013, Mink Farm A, a farm in the business of raising and selling mink and located in Morris, Illinois, was vandalized. ( Id. at ¶ 7.) Specifically, individuals spray painted the words " Liberation is Love" on the side of a barn, poured caustic substances over two farm vehicles, removed portions of the fence surrounding the farm for the mink to escape, and released approximately 2,000 mink from their cages. ( Id. at ¶ 8.)

On August 15, 2013 -- the next day, an officer from Woodford County performed a traffic stop on a vehicle approximately ninety miles from Mink Farm A. The vehicle did not have any license plates. ( Id. at ¶ 9.) Two individuals were in the vehicle -- Defendants Johnson and Lang. According to the Woodford County officer, both Johnson and Lang " appeared extremely nervous." ( Id.) In response to questions from the officer, Defendants provided inconsistent accounts of where they were going and where they had been. ( Id.)

When a second officer arrived and performed a K9 search of the vehicle, the dog alerted that the vehicle contained narcotics. ( Id.) The officers then searched the vehicle and recovered the following: " bottles of muriatic acid, a bottle of aircraft paint remover, spray paint, bolt cutters, a scanner, two Motorola walkie-talkies, computers, Subject Phones 1 and 2, a Kodak digital camera, several books regarding tactics to avoid law enforcement and terrorism, maps, rubber gloves, ski masks, and vehicle license covers for the State of Iowa." ( Id. at ¶ 10.) Law enforcement submitted several items from the vehicle for chemical analysis. Experts determined that some of the animal hair removed from the vehicle was mink fur. ( Id. at ¶ 11.)

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II. The Subject Phones

After law enforcement arrested Defendants, they seized from their vehicle two cell phones, among other items. After obtaining a court order to obtain subscriber information, toll records, and historic cell site information from Chief Judge Castillo, Verizon and Tracfone, the service providers, produced the requested information for Subject Phones 1 and 2.[1] ( Id. at ¶ 12.) Subject Phone 1 was used by Defendant Johnson. ( Id. at ¶ 13.)

The government obtained a search warrant to search Subject Phones 1 and 2. ( Id. at P 13.) The search of Johnson's phone in 2013 revealed that the phone number assigned to Subject Phone 3 was listed under Defendant Johnson's contact list as " Tyler Lang." ( Id. at ¶ 15.) During the search of Subject Phone 1, the government saw a text message sent from Subject Phone 3 on June 14, 2013 to Subject Phone 1. The text said: " Give me a call, Tyler." ( Id. at ΒΆ 14.) After that June 14, 2013 text message, Subject Phone 1 was in regular and consistent contact with Subject Phone 3 in the months leading up to August 14, 2013. Between June 2013 and ...

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