Employees return to business after raid in Corinna

Posted Jan. 14, 2011, at 8:41 p.m.

CORINNA, Maine — Business at Berg Sportswear resumed Friday to some extent, despite a daylong search and apparent seizure of filing cabinets and other materials Thursday by state and federal agents.

Few additional details were available Friday about why agents converged on the Route 7 business Thursday and spent much of the day loading a large box truck, which was backed up to the front doors. A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Unit has told the Bangor Daily News that it might be weeks before more information would be available.

A call to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor seeking more information was not returned Friday and several calls to Berg Sportswear have not been returned.

Several yellow signs pinned to the business’s door Friday read, “Closed for the day. DO NOT ENTER. Call for emergency or appointment,” followed by the business’s phone number. In smaller type at the bottom of the page was “Yes there are employees inside. Employees welcome all others DO NOT ENTER please call.”

When a reporter knocked on the door and took a picture of the signs Friday, a man’s voice through an outdoor loudspeaker said, “No pictures, please. No pictures.” There were several cars in the parking lot.

In addition to the agents from the homeland security unit, other personnel at the scene Thursday were seen wearing jackets from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, Maine State Police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, acknowledged that officers from the Maine agencies were assisting Thursday, but he could provide no other information because of an ongoing federal investigation.

Berg Sportswear is a screen printing business that employs approximately 20 people, according to its website. Many of its products fall into the category of course political satire, while other clients include Maine high schools and the University of Maine.

A clerk and customers at a local convenience store, who did not want to be identified, said there has been a lot of chatter in town since the arrival of the federal agents Thursday. A customer buying lunch Friday said Bob and Heather Berg are thought of as “good people” in the area.

“I just wish there was some information about what’s going on,” he said.

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