(10-5-22) A Homeland Security raid that took place in Montezuma on September 27th has been described in detail in a recent indictment in the case in the US District Court Western District Of Michigan Southern District.
The case charges Lucas Russell VanWoert (25), a former truck driver from Grand Rapids, Michigan, with creating and distributing so-called “animal crush” videos, a crime involving the distribution of videos showing animals being tortured and abused.
The VanWoert indictment charges him with four counts of creating animal crush videos and four distribution counts, crimes punishable by up to seven years in federal prison.
What is a Crush Video
Crush videos are recordings which typically depict women in stilettos or bare feet literally crushing, stomping on, or impaling small, helpless animals to satisfy the bizarre sexual fetishes of sadistic viewers. The Animal Welfare Institute is vehemently opposed to “crush videos” and has supported federal legislation intended to stop the trade in these films in the US.
The investigation started in late April in Australia. VanWoert had been exchanging videos and photos with a man from McMinns Lagoon in the northern tip of Australia.
Timothy Kruithoff, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, in a criminal complaint-
“During the video, VanWoert uses a hunting knife to cut out and remove the dog’s tongue. VanWoert then holds up the tongue and shakes it in front of the camera.
“VanWoert admitted to engaging in sex acts, beating, and strangling a dog in the yard of Sunset Logistics … in Grand Rapids and placing the body in a dumpster,”
Investigators spotted several clues in the photos and videos.
The recordings produced by Wanwoert AKA “Graves” appeared to be filmed in the sleeper cabin of a tractor-trailer and involved at least four dogs that were sexually abused and tortured, the agent wrote.
“In some of these files, an adult male’s face is visible as is a unique tattoo of a star surrounded by sunrays on his arm.”
VanWoert, who moved about three months ago to Montezuma from Michigan, is being held at the Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo after being held after the raid in Mercer County Adult Detention Center.
COMPLETE: Indictment against Vanwoert