A Nevada man who runs a website featuring stories about Area 51, the once highly classified United States Air Force facility in Nevada where conspiracy theorists have long speculated that government researchers there studied unidentified flying objects (UFO) and extraterrestrial aliens.
The top-secret U.S. military base, Area 51 is a focus of modern conspiracy theories including the reverse engineering of the 1947 crashed alien spacecraft supposedly recovered at Roswell, the study of their occupants, and meetings with extraterrestrial aliens.
Dreamland Resort founder Joerg Arnu said Thursday that military and federal investigators raided his homes in what he called an attempt to stop him from spreading UFO and space alien lore.
“I believe the search, executed with completely unnecessary force by overzealous government agents, was meant as a message to silence the Area 51 research community,” said Arnu of the Nov. 3 raids at his homes in Las Vegas and the desert town of Rachel, which enjoys a modest celebrity status, particularly among aviation enthusiasts and UFO hunters as the closest settlement to Area 51.
“I am not a spy,” said Arnu. “I and the vast majority of members of my web site support the military and we understand the need for secrecy to keep our country safe.”
Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry, public affairs chief at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, confirmed that Arnu’s properties had been searched by FBI and Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents, but said he could provide no additional information.
The office of Jason M. Frierson, the United States Attorney for Nevada, did not respond to a call for comment.
In a statement posted on his “Dreamland Resort” website, Arnu said the searches “happened without any warning.”
Last week Thursday (11/3/22) in the early morning my homes in Rachel (just outside of Area 51) and in Las Vegas were searched by a joint force of FBI and AF OSI. This happened without any warning. The doors were broken open and I in Rachel and my girlfriend in our Las Vegas home were detained and treated in the most disrespectful way. My girlfriend was led out into the street barefoot and only in her underwear in full view of our neighbors; I was led outside, handcuffed and only in t-shirt and sweats in sub-freezing temperatures.
Each home was searched by 15-20 agents in full riot gear, causing further damage in both homes besides the broken front doors. Despite my repeated requests for an explanation, I was only told that the search was related to images posted on my Area 51 web site.
I was very surprised how forceful the search warrant was executed and how rough we, both unarmed senior citizens, were treated. I have to believe that someone gave them bad information about us. All my laptops, phones, backup drives, camera gear and my drone were seized. With the equipment I lost all my medical records, financial and tax records, passwords, email and phone contacts, photos etc. Even my phone was taken, leaving me in Rachel with two broken doors and no way to communicate or call for help.
Not counting my expected legal expenses my losses so far include over $20k in equipment taken and over $5k in damage.
There are 40 pages missing from the search warrant I received and the case records are sealed. So, I cannot look up the reason for the search and I do not want to speculate. I left several messages with the FBI agent in charge but he has not returned any of my calls. At this point I have no choice but to take legal action to try and get my equipment back and to seek reimbursement for the damage.
In an effort to defuse the situation I have removed some material from my Dreamland Resort web site although I believe that it was legally obtained and legal to publish. I am not sharing anything on my web site that cannot be found on dozens of other web sites and news outlet publications. Considering how this went down I have no intention of removing any more material unless ordered to do so by a federal judge.
I believe the search, executed with completely unnecessary force by overzealous government agents was meant as a message to silence the Area 51 research community. The question now is: How far will they go?