ATF raids Wallingford mobile home
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Posted: Sat May 16th, 2009 09:09 pm Quote Reply
05/15/2009 ATF raids Wallingford mobile home By: Mary Ellen Godin , Record-Journal staff
WALLINGFORD - A usually quiet mobile home park was shaken Friday morning when about 15 officers from the U.S. bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local police descended on one of their neighbor's homes with force.
"They had their guns drawn and were surrounding the house," said Jennifer Monroe of Hosford Bridge Road. "These weren't small guns, they were machine guns. It wasn't normal."
Lynne Boynton, of 15 Hosford Bridge Road, went to her husband's truck for coffee money at about 6 a.m. and was pushed to the driveway and handcuffed with an officer's knee in her back and a gun to her head.
ATF officers surrounded her father-in-law's home at Western Sands Mobile Home Park and used a battering ram to enter the unlocked home in the rear, Boynton said.
"They were pouring out of there like crazy," said Monroe, who can easily see the front door. "They had Lynne in handcuffs. We were like 'What are they looking for?' "
Once inside, officers pulled Gilman Boynton and Paul Boynton out of bed, the men said. Paul Boynton said three or four officers threw him to the floor and put a gun to his head. Gilman Boynton, 76, who suffers from a heart condition, was made to sit in the living room, he said.
"Don't I have any rights?" a visibly shaken Gilman Boynton said. "I've been living here for over 40 years. The police have been here and seen my guns."
The family was told by ATF officers that the agency received a tip six weeks ago that a convicted felon was living at the home and had access to guns, Lynne Boynton said. Paul Boynton was arrested 34 years ago at the age of 17 with a friend who had forged a check. He hasn't been arrested since, he said.
Gilman Boynton is a gun collector, who keeps his rifles in a locked case on the wall, and a Beretta pistol in a safe. On Friday, ATF officers confiscated 14 rifles from the gun case and took his permits, he said. After breaking the safe, the ATF officers left the Beretta with a magazine cartridge still in the safe in Boynton's dresser.
"If they are so worried about guns, why did they leave a pistol in the safe and the holster?" Lynne Boynton said. "It was humiliating; I've never been handcuffed in my life."
According to a search and seizure warrant signed by U.S. District Court Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven Thursday, the agents were authorized to seize firearms, ammunition, holsters and destructive devices. They were also looking for personal property that identified the residents, including canceled mail, deeds, leases, rental agreements, photographs, personal telephone books, diaries, utility and telephone bills, statements, identification documents and keys.
The confiscated guns and the arrest warrant must be presented to Margolis in court.
There were no arrests during Friday's raid.
Paul Boynton said he is not a gun enthusiast and didn't make the connection between his 34-year-old conviction and his father's collection.
"This could have been handled so much easier," Boynton said. "All they had to do was have an officer come to my door and tell me."
The Boynton's rear door was bashed and has to be secured. Garbage bags, clothing, jewelry, a television and other household items were dumped in heaps in the various rooms. Paul Boynton, who suffers from herniated discs and other back problems, was having difficulty walking.
The officers called a medic for Gilman Boynton to check his vital signs, and asked if he wanted to be hospitalized. He refused.
"At the end of it when they didn't find nothing, they were real nice," Gilman Boynton said.
Neighbor Natalie Monroe, mother of Jennifer, said in the 21 years she's lived there, she's never seen any disturbances across the street and was shaken at the sight of her neighbor lying in her driveway in handcuffs. She was also concerned about the effects all the excitement would have on Gilman Boynton's health.
"We were floored," Natalie Monroe said. "We were like what the heck is going on? I've never seen anything like this. They went through all their vehicles."
A Wallingford Police Department detective said the department sent several officers to the scene at the request of the ATF. But the department had no knowledge of the details in the case, and referred questions to the bureau. Telephone messages left at the ATF's field offices in New Haven and Boston were not returned.
The officers told the family that Paul Boynton could still be arrested because the keys to the gun rack were hanging up in the kitchen, Lynne Boynton said.
"But I had to help them open it," Gilman Boynton said.