Agents tried to explain the raid to angry neighbors and supporters.
After a year-long undercover investigation, law enforcement agents and federal health officials descended on a popular Los Angeles health food store in an early morning armed raid and arrested the owner on conspiracy charges.
His crime? Selling raw dairy products.
James Stewart, the owner of the popular Rawesome Foods store in Venice, California, was charged with conspiring to unlawfully produce and sell unpasteurized dairy products.
At the same time law enforcement was carrying out a "multi-agency SWAT-style armed raid" at the Venice store, authorities were also descending on Healthy Family Farms in Ventura County, north of L.A. They arrested Sharon Palmer, the owner of the farm, which was the sole supplier of raw dairy products to Rawsome Foods. Eugenie Bloch, a farm employee, was also arrested.
Rawesome and Healthy Family Farms were both featured in the documentary Farmageddon, which we told you about last month.
According to the LA Weekly, the arrests stem from the sale of raw goat milk to an undercover agent from a cooler in the back of a van in a grocery store parking lot. Elina Shatkin writes:
While it's legal to manufacture and sell unpasteurized dairy products in California, licenses and permits are required. Rawesome may have violated regulations by selling raw dairy products to non-members.
The Weekly has a lot of details on the raids. Protests have been planned outside the courthouse today.
And Venice locals are, understandably, pissed. We've got video of the raid, after the jump: