Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 4, 2013

FBI executes sealed warrants in Suttons Bay

SUTTONS BAY — Federal agents donned HAZMAT suits as they executed two search warrants in Leelanau County.

The warrants were issued by the United States District Court of Western Michigan, were sealed and authorities would not discuss why FBI officials cordoned off and searched two properties in the Suttons Bay area Friday afternoon.

Ron Loch, assistant special agent in charge out of the FBI’s Detroit field office, said agents cleared one location, determined it was “safe” and continued work at a second into late Friday afternoon. A stretch of St. Mary’s Avenue in downtown Suttons Bay was still cordoned off by Leelanau County sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement late Friday afternoon.

“I can’t say what we’re looking for because the warrant is sealed. And I can’t confirm what we found at any location,” Loch said.

Loch said no suspects were arrested and buildings on the properties were not occupied when agents arrived. He said agents wore HAZMAT suits as they entered two buildings as a “precaution” after an initial search of the buildings, but the public was not at danger.

“It is not at danger at this time,” he said, before adding, “Until we got in we didn’t know. As we have gone through our methodical search, nothing (has) changed our minds on that.”

Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich said his deputies were a “little in the dark” on the warrants as they assisted federal agents.

“That’s just fine, we understand why,” he said. “We’ll go with that and provide any support services we can.”

A federal judge sealed the warrants based on an FBI request. Details about the searches, the identities of potential suspects and the nature of the investigation are sealed from the public.

Loch said the warrant would be unsealed if there’s an indictment or charges filed.

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