By GARY LIBOW
EAST HADDAM, CT -- Federal agents raided a Muslim campground in Moodus Friday morning, seizing specimens and seeds from what they believe is datashak, a plant native to India.
Members of the FBI and U.S. Department of Agriculture said in documents that they also seized 19 computer discs and an assortment of documents from the 18-acre Town Street property, owned by Darul Uloom Shady Brook Inc.
Property caretaker Mojibur Rahman said that he was awakened about 9 a.m. by banging. It was agents, who demanded all datashak seeds on the property, he said.
A short time after the raid, a shaken Rahman walked over to a large garden of lush, viny datashak, also known as amaranth, and other vegetables.
Rahman, who is from Bangladesh, said he was perplexed as to why seeds and specimens of a plant eaten by Muslims at the property was confiscated.
Documents that the agents left with Rahman for the property owners said the focus of the search was any and all seeds, plants - whether growing or harvested - of datashak. The warrant was signed by U.S. Magistrate Donna F. Martinez.
The agents noted in a document that Bank of New York deposit slips, books and documents were seized. They also sought maps, directions, and gas receipts relating to travel.
FBI spokeswoman Lisa Bull would confirm only that agents conducted "investigative activity" at the Moodus property, in support of the agriculture department.