By JR on Friday, October 07, 2011
USDA threatens $60,000 fine, federal raid against woman in legal possession of indoor lemon tree. Do Americans have ANY legal rights left?
The US government's assault against innocent American citizens continues to get more aggressive and just plain strange, with new reports of harassment against honest owners of ordinary lemon trees. Health Freedom Alliance (HFA) reports that officials from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are now spying on people whom they suspect are in possession of ordinary lemon trees, and threatening them with excessive fines and even federal raids if they refuse to surrender the plants on demand.
Several years ago, Bridget Donovan, who has now been dubbed "The Lemon Tree Lady," purchased a Meyer lemon tree from meyerlemontree.com. A resident of Wisconsin, Donovan purchased the tree legally and in full accordance with all federal and state laws regulating citrus transport, and had lovingly cultivated and cared for her indoor citrus plant for nearly three years.
Then, out of nowhere, Donovan received an unexpected letter from the USDA informing her that government officials were going to come and seize her tree and destroy it -- and that she was not going to be compensated for her loss. The letter also threatened that if Donovan was found to be in possession of "regulated citrus" again, she could be fined up to $60,000.
Donovan was shocked, to say the least, as her tree was not a "regulated citrus." The store from which she purchased it is fully legitimate, and she had done absolutely nothing wrong. But it turns out Donovan and many others who had also purchased similar citrus plants had faced, or were currently facing, the very same threats made against them by the USDA.
Most of those targeted simply surrendered their trees without trying to fight back, Donovan discovered. And while she, herself put up a hefty fight in trying to get honest answers in order to keep her tree, Donovan was eventually forced to surrender it as well. And worst of all, many of those who were told that a replacement tree would be in "compliance" later had those trees confiscated, too.
Why has the USDA been targeting lemon tree owners? The answer is unclear, other than that they are a supposed threat to the citrus industry. And a USDA official admitted to Donovan that the agency has been spying on those suspected of owning lemon trees, and targeting all found to be in possession with threats of fines and raids if they failed to give them up -- and the agency has been doing this without a valid warrant.
"I felt utterly violated, angry, and upset," Donovan is quoted as saying by HFA. "I pay my taxes, I obey the law, and this is how I was treated? I did nothing wrong. I would expect these action (sic) toward someone running a drug house, not someone who owned a lemon tree."