Homeland Security, drug agents mum about search of Corinna business

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 13, 2011, at 1:25 p.m.

CORINNA, Maine — Authorities were tight-lipped Thursday about why numerous state and federal agents appeared to be searching a Corinna business and removing a large amount of material from the building.

The business in question, Berg Sportswear on Route 7 in Corinna, was the scene of considerable activity for much of the day Thursday as officers wearing insignia from numerous agencies shuffled into and out of the building.

Mike Lanno of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Unit told the Bangor Daily News at the scene that he could not identify the nature of the investigation. Asked whether there is or has been any threat to the public, Lanno declined to answer.

Ross Feinstein, a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said in a written statement Thursday that the search was related to “an ongoing criminal investigation” and that no other information would be available Thursday.

Numerous marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles were parked in front of the business Thursday. A large box truck emblazoned with the name of a New York City-based moving company, Collins Bros., was backed up to the front doors. Officers could be seen carrying in stacks of collapsed cardboard boxes and moving filing cabinets and apparently filled boxes into the moving truck. Other than the ICE officers, there were agents wearing insignia from the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Bob Berg, owner of the company, declined to take questions at the scene and could not be reached by telephone Thursday afternoon.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said the Maine State Police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency were assisting federal authorities with a search warrant that was served Thursday morning. McCausland said he had no other information because the investigation and search were being led by ICE.

Berg Sportswear is a screen-printing business located in a former chicken barn approximately three miles north of Corinna Village. According to its website, the business employs approximately 20 people and “offers a great selection of novelty and politically incorrect T-shirts including our ever-popular line of Howie Carr T-shirts.” Carr is a conservative radio talk show host in Boston.

Questioned by the Bangor Daily News about numerous scenarios regarding the reason for the search, Feinstein said he could not provide any further explanation.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/01/13/business/homeland-security-drug-agents-mum-about-search-of-corinna-business/ printed on December 29, 2014