KEY LARGO, Fla. – A South Florida man was arrested after being accused of trying to free a whale in the Florida Keys.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Arnold Christopher Lagergren, an animal activist who is affiliated with the Animal Liberation Front, was arrested outside the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo on Saturday.
Read: Aug. 21 Arrest Warrant Read: Sept. 10 Arrest Warrant
Miami-Dade Sgt. Javier Ortiz, who is also a volunteer at the Conservancy, said he observed Lagergren taking pictures of the habitat from a nearby Hampton Inn.
"I went to go for a swim, and when I looked towards the Marine Mammal Conservancy property, I saw somebody in the mangroves taking photographs, on the actual property for Marine Mammal Conservancy," Ortiz said.
Ortiz, who was off duty at the time, said he startled Lagergren as he was attempting to take apart a fence that protects a pilot whale currently being rehabilitated at the facility.
Officers said Lagergren tried to get away but was arrested at gunpoint by Ortiz, who had backup from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. When he was arrested, police said Lagergren had a pellet gun long rifle, box cutters, a wet suit , pliers and camera lenses.
"He didn't say much, just that he was there for the whales," Ortiz said.
Police said Lagergren had protested the staff's care of the pilot whale and had been warned many times in the past month to stay off the property.
"I tried to explain to him that this wasn't a whale that would have made it out in the wild and that we were just there trying to help," Ortiz said.
Lagergren has a history of arrests trying to free animals in captivity.
One of the recent arrests was in front of the Miami Seaquarium in February.
A photo from that day is the profile picture on a Facebook page for an alias, Chris Alf.
ALF is an acronym for Animal Libertation Front, that has as part of its credo on its website "rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through the damage and destruction of property".
According to police, on Aug. 21, Lagergren and another man tried to free another whale. At the time, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Ortiz said that, according to the FBI, the Animal Liberation Front is currently the second most sought-after domestic terrorist group in the United States.