Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 29, 2016
Animal Rights Activist Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Vandalizing a Farm and Releasing 2,000 Mink from Their Cages
CHICAGO — A California man was sentenced today to three years in federal prison for vandalizing a Grundy County fur farm and releasing more than 2,000 mink from their cages.
After releasing the mink, KEVIN JOHNSON and an accomplice spray painted the barn with the words, “Liberation is Love.” The pair also poured an acidic substance over two trucks that were parked on the farm in Morris, Ill.
JOHNSON, 28, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiring to travel in interstate commerce with the purpose of damaging an animal enterprise. U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve imposed the three-year sentence in federal court in Chicago.
Johnson “vandalized a small, family-owned business, forcing it to close its doors,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bethany K. Biesenthal argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “While his intentions are noble, his tactics are not.”
The accomplice, TYLER LANG, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty last year to the same charge as Johnson. Lang is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge St. Eve on March 23, 2016, at 9:15 a.m.
The vandalism and releasing of the mink occurred on Aug. 13, 2013. The mink farmers, with assistance from law enforcement, were able to recover 1,600 of the animals. The remaining mink died or were never found. Johnson and Lang also destroyed cards from the cages that identified the breed of each animal, making it impossible to determine the breed of the recovered minks.
The sentencing of Johnson was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The government is being represented by Ms. Biesenthal and Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ridgway.