Red Wing man tells his side of the storyRed Wing resident Johnny Mack’s first serious run-in with the law landed him in federal prison, but for something of which he was never found guilty.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing resident Johnny Mack’s first serious run-in with the law landed him in federal prison, but for something of which he was never found guilty.
“I am in a small cement room with three beds and two Mexican nationals who don’t speak much English as cellmates. I have never been imprisoned before; much less arrested,” Mack wrote in his recently published book, “Abuse of Power.”
The book chronicles a nearly 10-year span of events that end with Mack as innocent as he began, though guilt was highly suspected throughout the timeline.
Mack, a then-Arizona resident who was expanding his aerospace manufacturing business into Mexico, begins his story with something as simple and carefree as his dad teaching him to fly an ultralight aircraft by himself for the first time. It’s his interest in planes that eventually has the United States questioning his intentions.
Following the theft of one of his airplanes in 2005, Mack became a suspect of insurance fraud and smuggling. In his book he explains that by early 2006 his home was broken into, wiretaps were placed on his phones and monitoring software was installed on his computers.
Though he has no criminal history, Department of Transportation agents confronted him by the end of the year, he said. Mack denied any fraud or smuggling activity.
Less than two years later, the DOT showed up to his home and handcuffed him under the Patriot Act, an act that gives government more control to monitor communications with a goal of preventing terrorism.
“Once they’ve got that label on it, you don’t have any civil rights,” Mack said.
But, he added, it was that two-year wait that was harder to deal with than the actual detainment.
“The torture of time, I call it, was really the worst part,” Mack said. “In my case, they were just kind of using that to mentally work me over.”
Mack was detained in a federal correctional facility in Florence, Ariz., on Feb. 21, 2008, but his family was not told of his location. Five days later he was released on a $25,000 signature bond.
It wasn’t until June 2008 that a federal prosecutor dismissed any charges, stating “the government’s case lacks any real evidence.”
The entire ordeal upset Mack to the point that he had trouble moving past it. Penning the story helped him move forward with life.
“I wrote ‘Abuse of Power’ because I wanted Americans to understand that what happened to me could happen to anyone,” Mack said. “There’s some supposition in it; there’s some accusations, but from my perspective it’s exactly what happened.”
“If you look at the point of the book … it is that I see it as a wake-up call. I’m not the first person this has happened to and I’m not going to be the last,” Mack continued, explaining that Americans shouldn’t accept the Patriot Act so willingly.
“I think it’s important for Americans to hear this story and understand what incredible power the Patriot Act has given government to destroy people’s lives and reputations without any cause, and to also understand how important it is to continue to fight for our rights and individual liberty.”
“Abuse of Power” is available online at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.