FBI investigates GM sugar beet destruction

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to solve who destroyed fields of genetically modified sugar beets in southern Oregon.

The crops were destroyed over two separate nights in June. It is unknown if the plots were destroyed by an individual or a group. The GM sugar beets were engineered to withstand glyphosate, and were being grown on plots of land leased and managed by Syngenta.

OregonLive.com reports, “The first act of what the FBI considers ‘economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises,’ took place during the night of June 8, when about 1,000 sugar beet plants on one property were destroyed. Three nights later, the destruction continued on another property, where another 5,500 plants were ruined.”

A spokesperson for Syngenta says the plants appeared to be destroyed by hand and that it didn’t appear that vehicle was used.

Although estimates of the damage have not been released, it is believed that the financial losses are significant.

Oregonians for Food and Shelter is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the culprits.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture,” said Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba in a statement.

If you have information about the destruction, call the local offices of the FBI at (541) 773-2942 during normal business hours or call the FBI in Portland anytime at (503) 224-4181. Tips may be e-mailed to Portland@ic.fbi.gov

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Joe Calzone    
NY  |  June, 24, 2013 at 04:23 PM

who is Oregonians for Food and Shelter??? Who investigated all the harm done by GM crops ??

D'Marie Mulattieri    
Orange County, CA  |  June, 26, 2013 at 02:45 PM

While I do not condone the destruction of private or commercial property, I think it is important to note that there have been NO long term clinical studies of GMO plants to determine their long term safety or to allow for the revelation of long term dangers to either animals, humans or the environment. The longest clinical study done by Monsanto is 90 days! It is important for each person to do research as to whether GMOs are truly safe for animal or human consumption. We can not trust the the FDA, USDA or EPA to be objective in its "findings" or "approvals for safety" as the officials in charge of all three Federal departments are former Monsanto employees. I also hope that the FBI is also considering the option that this may well be industrial/agricultural sabotage between competitors or self inflicted for insurance.

Jane Doe    
Utah  |  June, 28, 2013 at 12:09 AM

Joe Calzone: based on a glance at their facebook page, I would say that "Oregonians for Food and Shelter are shills for Big Ag. Like D'Marie, I don't condone this kind of thing, but GMOs have done incalculable damage to health and the environment.

J Horta    
Florida  |  June, 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM

There are more than 1,000 scientific publications stating that GM plants are safe. I would say that they are very thoroughly if not excessively tested. Of course you decide to mistrust 1,000s of scientists because apparently they are so desperate for money, they are willing to lie even though these lies will harm people? Is that logical? As Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Oh wait, he was a scientist, he was probably paid off to say that. I have read blogs of farmers who have been using GM crops and they are proud to say that they do not need to spray any insecticides and very little herbicide. Much less of both prior to planting GM seed. This is better for the environment in so many ways. They get to practice no till farming which saves topsoil by preventing erosion that tilling causes, this means less wear and tear on tractors as well as less gas used by the tractors. I am an environmentalist and am alarmed at how prevalent this conspiracy theory has become! The internet is full of anti-science falsities!

July, 01, 2013 at 07:44 AM

Transgenics mandate the spraying of herbicieds to control weeds - how you claim 'very little spraying' is quite contradictory. Industiral Agriculture results in a net loss of topsoil, every year. They even claim that up to certain amount of topsoil loss as 'sustainable' Properly managed Bio-intesnive agriculture results in a net gain of topsoil, every year. Just those two points and your whole arguement looks, well, not like a very thorough arguement.


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