Whistleblower’s home raided by armed FDLE agents

Posted by Adrian Wyllie January 15, 2011 25 Comments 21061 views

A 1787 Network Exclusive 

by Adrian Wyllie     Email: adrian@1787network.com    Phone: 1-800-575-1787

JASPER, FLORIDA – Robert “Bob” Burton is a deadhead logger in the Florida panhandle.  In the course of his business, he stumbled upon some illegal activities carried out by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), including state employees dumping toxic waste in Florida water reclamation areas. 

On Friday, Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents, dressed in tactical gear and armed with assault rifles, served him with a search warrant.   Agents seized his computer, cell phone, and video camera.   However, Burton has not been charged with any crime. 

He also reported that the DEP had seized a logger’s entire season harvest, even though the logger had the proper permits, and was violating no laws.  A judge later ruled that the logger in question had legally harvested the logs, valued at over $300,000, but the DEP has refused to return the logs.  He contends that public records regarding this case were intentionally destroyed. 

Bob Burton as seen in one of his YouTube.com videos that was not deleted.

Bob Burton as seen in one of his YouTube.com videos that was not deleted.

Burton recorded a telephone conversation with Ryan Tyson, the Chief of Staff for State Senator Charles S. “Charlie” Dean, Sr.,  in which Tyson may have made incriminating statements regarding DEP activities.    Sen. Dean is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation.   Burton published his conversation with Tyson, along with other evidence of corruption, on YouTube.com. 

As of Friday evening, those videos have been deleted by YouTube. 

All of that apparently led to deputies and FDLE agents in tactical gear with assault rifles paying him a terrifying visit. 

On Friday, January 14 around 7:30 am, Burton got a knock on his door.  Standing there was a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy and several heavily armed FDLE agents.  They presented a warrant.  Not an arrest warrant, but a warrant to seize Burton’s computer, video camera, cell phone, and documents. 

No one was arrested — they just wanted the documents and recordings Burton had made of state officials engaged in what appears to be illegal activities. 

Burton’s wife, Katherine “Kathy” Scott, was in the shower at the time.  She was forced out of the bathroom.  They brought in a female agent to observe her as she dressed. 

The Burtons were deeply shaken by the raid.  “I’m rattled right now.  They’ve confiscated everything,” said Burton.  “When they come to your door with assault rifles…if I had a phone or remote control in my hand at the time, there’s no telling what would’ve happened.” 

In Florida, both parties must be aware that a phone conversation is being recorded in order to comply with the law.  However, when a citizen calls the Senator’s office, there is a recorded message at the beginning of the call that says, “This call may be monitored or recorded.”  Therefore, both parties would presumably be aware that the call was being recorded, complying with state law. 

Florida takes pride in the “Government-in-the-Sunshine” law, which assures that dealings between the public and state government officials are open to the public, and can be copied and republished by the public at large. 

“They way [the DEP Inspector General's office] has been destroying public records, we had to do something to expose what they were doing to us and to everyone in the State of Florida,” said Burton.  Burton said he has been in contact with representatives for Gov. Rick Scott’s office. 

Burton says he has official documents, recordings, and other evidence proving his claims.   He says that the state has attempted to intimidate and harass him on several occasions in the past, but this is the most aggressive act toward him and his family to date. 

Burton’s crusade against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection began years ago.  His investigation has led him to believe that this corruption is part of a wider, perhaps more sinister plan. 

According to Burton, many of the state’s illegal activities may be an effort to fulfill a United Nations plan known as Agenda 21

The UN Division for Sustainable Development describes Agenda 21 as a “comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts (sic) on the environment.” 

Under Agenda 21, the UN is promoting the forceful transfer of ownership of forests and natural resources away from governments and individuals to entities which they refer to as Private-Public Partnerships (PPP).  These PPPs most commonly consist of partnerships between global corporations, universities, private foundations, and environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club. 

At this time, there do not appear to be any charges against Burton, but the state has issued him a trespass warning on state-owned land.   Because of this recent raid, Burton is deeply concerned for his family’s safety. 

All attempts to contact Sen. Dean for comment were unsuccessful.   Hamilton County Sheriff J. Harrell Reid did not return our call for comment.  Keith Kameg, public information officer for the FDLE, said that he had no information regarding the warrant, and that they were likely there only to assist with serving the warrant at the request of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office. 

We will have more on this story as it develops. 

UPDATE (01-15-2011 15:47) 1787 Network has obtained a copy of the search warrant, and the complaintant on the warrant is Special Agent Eric Daniel of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

UPDATE (01-15-2011 18:30) Keith Kameg of the FDLE has now confirmed that this is an FDLE-led investigation.  Kameg said he was unable to give any additional information because the warrant executed at the Burton home is part of an ongoing investigation.  Kameg would not confirm if any charges were pending against Burton, nor would he comment on the nature of the investigation. 

UPDATE (01-16-2011 22:58) We met with Bob Burton and his wife Kathy Scott to go over the remaining evidence that was not seized by the FDLE.  Unfortunately, all video evidence of the dumping of toxic materials by state employees at Suwanee River State Park was stored on the computer taken from the Burton home by the FDLE.   No other copies were available. However, they were able to provide us with a wealth of DEP and other documentation dating back to 2003 to support claims of an official investigation into impropriety by state officials, including dumping of hazardous materials into sinkholes at Suwanee River State Park.   All state employees were ultimately exonerated by the DEP Inspector General and a criminal investigation was launched against non-state employees for the dumping. 

We confirmed that the justification for the search warrant was Burton’s recorded conversation with Ryan Tyson, former Chief of Staff for State Senator Dean.  The warrant reads, “the following laws have been or are being violated within said Premises:  Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications F.S. 934.03(1)(a)(c).”   However, neither Burton nor Scott was charged with violating this law. 

In a follow up interview with Burton and Scott, they told us that the FDLE agents executing the warrant said it was highly unusual to execute a warrant for the alleged offense of recording a public official in the course of conducting business.  Burton said that the agents gave indications that the raid may have been politically motivated. 

They also provided us a chilling recording of a 911 call made to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office from Easter Sunday 2008  in which the Burton home was apparently fired upon repeatedly, allegedly by family members of a Hamilton County Commissioner.   Automatic weapons fire can be clearly heard at 57 seconds into the recording. 

UPDATE (01-19-2011 13:08) Repeated calls to State Senator Charlie Dean have not been returned.  However, a staffer confirmed to 1787 Network that Ryan Tyson is no longer employed by Dean’s office.  It was unclear whether Tyson resigned or was fired.  His employment ended approximately one week before the search warrant on the Burton home was executed. 

UPDATE (02-21-2011)  The FDLE has advised Burton that his computer, cellphone and video camera are missing from evidence.   They said that they cannot produce a chain of evidence documenting who is currently in possession of his equipment. 

UPDATE (02-27-2011 09:25)  The FDLE has located Burton’s equipment, however it has yet to be returned to him.  Apparently, State Attorney Skip Jarvis is not allowing the FDLE to release the evidence, even though no charges have been filed against Burton or Scott.  Calls to Jarvis’ office by the 1787 Network have not been returned.    On Thursday, I went to Senator Dean’s Tallahassee office to discuss the matter with him.   I spoke with Kevin Sweeny, Dean’s new chief of staff who replaced Ryan Tyson.  I was told by Sweeny that Dean was at lunch and would return shortly.   Sweeny contacted Dean on his cell phone to advise him that I was waiting.  I waited for Dean for nearly two hours, but he did not return to his office.   Dean has dodged multiple attempts by 1787 Network to contact him for comment on this story.

About Adrian Wyllie

Adrian is the former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, founding partner of the 1787 Network and the 2014 Libertarian Candidate for Governor of Florida. He has over a decade of experience as an investigative reporter, and focuses on liberty causes, government corruption, and Constitutional violations. He is a third-generation Floridian, an entrepreneur, and served in the U.S. Army and Florida National Guard.

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There are 25 Comments

  1. - January 15, 2011

    It certainly sounds to me as if Florida is continuing their actions of the past when they sold swamp land to Americans in the north, promising the land was perfect for building homes. When are we going to stop this kind of illegal activity in our state? Doesn’t Floridians understand what is going on? They better take notice, because one day we will be pushed out while big business owns the entire state. Many in this state do not trust law enforcement to protect them. Instead they feel they are involved in many activities that would result in those members of law enforcement who are involved in such activities should served time in prison and never be allowed a badge ever again.

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  4. Patrick
    - January 16, 2011

    Everyone – Please, when you make digital video or audio recordings of government officials breaking the law you need to save ALL of your documentation to DVD immediately and make multiple copies. One you have multiple copies, send them to the media, and also store copies of your data with trusted friends and any family you may have. Just my .02.

  5. - January 16, 2011

    Thank you Mr. Burton for your bravery! We are fighting Agenda 21 in Texas too! see our speeches at our Plan Commission in Garland :
    click on misc to go to Envision Garland – our UN Redevelopment Plan that is trying to get its way into Garland.

  6. DickWilhelm
    - January 16, 2011

    So… let me get this straight…
    The Florida DEP is dumping toxic chemicals into our waterways in order to transfer land ownership to private entities as demanded by the UN “Agenda 21″? Good thing this doesn’t sound like conspiracy drivel.

  7. BladeMcCool
    - January 16, 2011

    So what is the retaliation by Anon? What is the target? FDLE Servers? Physically storming their office to seize the stolen property and return it to Mr. Burton? There are lots of options and we are legion. Dont let them push you around.

    Also stop paying your rent, mortgage, quit your job and start planting food forests and joining local exchange systems. The old order is over. Live the new.

  8. matt
    - January 16, 2011

    Florida truly seems like America’s own banana republic. Take the insurance industry for example — you forced all the legitimate companies out of business and are now left with a bunch of shell entities who funnel all the premiums in the form of “fee income” to tax havens in Bermuda & the Caymans. Watch what happens the next time a big storm hits Florida — all of these “insurance companies” (the house of cards ones y’all are left with, not the legitimate ones that formerly did business in Florida) will fold and the state (Read: Taxpayers) will be left holding the bag. Good luck.

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  11. Florida Patriot
    - January 16, 2011

    Where is page 2 of the warrant? It would definitely paint a much more complete picture of what occurred. As posted, this is definitely a slanted piece, and further information would be needed before I condemn anyone.

  12. - January 17, 2011

    Transparency is what this government need to be about. How can they do this to a patriot that have been standing up for our State and Country and us “the people”. We need to give out a message. We the people of the United States of America will stay and bind together for America. We do not need nor want a globalization-that is why we are “under God”. I am sorry that Bob and Kathy went through this ordeal. No one should go through this in the US. This is not a dictatorial regime. Let’s let our politicians know that we are United, peaceful but we want answers to this atrocity. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND PATRIOTS SUCH AS BOB AND KATHY BURTON. If it would not be for them, I would have died in a hunger strike waitiing for justice to be made.

  13. - January 17, 2011

    We are crudely back on line.
    Our position is that we have invested years of our lives and a vast fortune researching what is contained on that lap top.
    We have great hopes for Rick Scott who himself has beed subjected to malicious prosecutions for political purpose.
    The 911 recordings are only one of many armed assaults on our home and business. We as well have a nice collection of hate signs and slashed tires.
    There is information on that laptop that will send many high level officials to prison. Please call governor Rick Scott beginning first thing in the morning and have him confiscate our equiptment from these men.
    if he wants our research he can make an appointment, he does not have to send his men to steal it at gun point.
    With or without the laptop we will continue. They are mistaken in thinking we will be intimidated by terrorizm by its leagal definition.
    Our research is of global impact. If We do not make it Go after Associated Industries of Florida, Harvey Ruvin (ICLEI), Martin Lees ( Club of Rome) Cliff Stearns (Heart of Florida) and John Lackey (Rotary International/ NCF9/12 Project) also go after Transfield Servises and all other PPPs working with these groups. Stop the port of lake City as a violation of article 1 section 8 of the US Constitution.
    No time to edit Blame spell check??? Bob and Kathy

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  15. Lynn D.
    - January 18, 2011

    Florida Department of Environmental DESTRUCTION

  16. Sovereignty Soldier
    - January 18, 2011

    So are Floridians going to ensure justice? Look if the law itself is corrupt then the citizens have to become the executioners of legal common law. Crime needs to be punshed or it encourages other would be criminals. This should be a tactic used by all. Record the crooked politicians, make MANY copies, hide at least one copy away from home, utilize ALL media outlets like YouTube or Google video, ensure others have copies in case you are paid a visit.
    As for the states and their tool politicians, we know your names, who you are, what you stand for, why you do what you do. Believe this, your time draweth nigh!

  17. - January 18, 2011

    We will continue to relay your information to our listeners and subscribers.

    Martin 9/12 TeaParty Committee

  18. Don
    - January 18, 2011

    Bob Burton,

    Glad to hear you’re back online. You’ve learned the first lesson of whistleblowing the hard way.

    A whistleblower who wants to survive has to make backups of every piece of information, especially videos and audio recording, as soon as possible and put them in a safe place as soon as possible.

    You might have a look at this website: http://www.recordiapro.com

    If you set your phone to speed dial their service, and leave it on, you can have a record of confrontations with “The Bad Guys” that is not on your ‘phone, it’s stored offsite on the company’s servers. Even if they confiscate your phone, they won’t get the recording. Also, there have been cases where conversations among the phone grabbers continue to be recorded after they siezed the person’s phone, hoping to prevent him from recording the event. For this to work well you need to be able to set up the phone’s screen saver so that it blanks quickly and it looks like the phone is not in use.

    Two copies of recordings should be made and one copy put in a physically safe location, and the other copy should be given to a trustworthy attorney. Tell no-one, and I mean no-one, not even your brother, your mom or your best friend, about where they are, or even that they exist, until the time you need to use them. That time may come when the originals (or copies made to look like the originals) are grabbed, as you’ve experienced, and you need to produce the copies to continue your work. There may be situations where uncertainty about copies might protect you from baddies, but that needs to be managed carefully, to protect you from “rubber hosing”

    Your data, especially the recordings, are the key to your survival.

  19. Steve
    - January 19, 2011

    Exactly what does ‘toxic waste’ look like…especially from a distance? Perhaps you would be able to describe the contents by percent of the constituent components which classify them as ‘toxic’.

    Or Not!

  20. diane wilcox
    - January 19, 2011

    Just got a call from my lil sister. (Kathy) HOLY HELL!!! What happened to the american dream…Dare we say, we live the american nightmare… It’s time for everyone to wake up. Geez I can’t stop shaking. How can anyone feel safe.Land of the free my #*?.

  21. - January 20, 2011

    With the wide-spread /fkiruda corruption at every govt. level, this reported event is just the tip of a very real BIG iceberg…people need to wake up…..

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  25. Carlos Mejia
    - November 24, 2011

    This needs to be published by every newspaper in the U.S. These Criminal politicians should be held accountable and put in jail.

    FOX five / FOX News and WABC radio is probably a good way to start. All the other Media are Run by these CRIMINALS

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