Portland FBI raids: one home vacant, one formerly housed activists
One home raided by FBI agents early Wednesday had been vacant for years but showed signs of recent activity, and one had once been occupied by young political activists whose lease was not renewed, neighbors said
One home raided by FBI agents early Wednesday had been vacant for years but showed signs of recent activity, and one had once been occupied by young political activists whose lease was not renewed, neighbors said.
A third home was long vacant before three people in their 20s moved in last fall.
Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said agents served the search warrants at three North and Northeast Portland homes as part of an "ongoing violent crime" investigation.
The warrants were served at 4820 N.E. 31st Ave., 7129 N.E. Eighth Ave., and 6846 N. Greenwich Ave.
No arrests were made.
"The warrants are sealed, and I anticipate they will remain sealed," Steele said.
Some residents in the area of Northeast Alberta Street awakened to the sound of a helicopter circling overhead.
The home at Northeast 31st Avenue, a block from Alberta, is a two-story purple home with purple trim. It was raided around 6 a.m., FBI agents were still at the location as of 10:15 a.m.
Rosa Aguilar, who owns the home and rents it out, said she believed that agents were not looking for the current tenants but a group that moved out more than a year ago. Aguilar said she did not renew the group's lease because she had received so many complaints about them.
FBI raids three homes in PortlandFBI agents raided three homes--two in NE Portland, one in North Portland--early Wednesday morning, part of an ongoing investigation into a violent crime. The federal search warrants have been sealed and will remain sealed.Watch video
Puanani Leal, who has lived in the neighborhood three years, described the former tenants as anarchists who ran an information booth at Alberta Street's Last Thursday event. She said large numbers of people were in and out of the house while the group was living there.
She was home when the FBI arrived this morning.
"I just heard lots of pounding at 6 o'clock, and I got up and I saw the whole thing," Leal said. "I saw them screaming to get in. They were using the battering ram, and then finally the door just opened."
She said the current occupants came out and agents very quickly let them go.
Near the 7129 N.E. 8th Avenue home, neighbors said no one has been living in the house for several years. In recent months, neighbors noticed activity -- a light on inside, groups of people in their early 20s coming and going. They didn't cause any trouble but seemed to be living in the house.
Then, a month ago, an officer in a patrol car was seen checking out the home.
Neighbors said they heard multiple loud bangs around 6 a.m. this morning, followed by yelling.
By 10:30 a.m., the FBI had left. The rundown home appeared to be empty but for a chair and a desk and a roll of paper towels visible from a window. The grass was overgrown, but the grass in a side yard looked trampled down.
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At the location on North Greenwich, the FBI was finishing up processing evidence around 11 a.m. At the one-story blue gray home, agents carted out paper evidence bags sealed in red tape.
Agents examined yard debris. They took pictures inside the house and photographed a white van parked in the driveway.
Next-door neighbor Juan Martinez Jr., 25, said two men and a woman, all who appeared in their 20s, moved into the house around September and came over to introduce themselves. They were good neighbors and hired him to mow their front lawn, he said.
"They mainly kept to themselves. They never really bothered anybody ... I didn't have a problem with them," Martinez said.
The house hadn't been occupied for years before the three moved in, he said.
Martinez said he woke up about 8 a.m. to his bulldog barking and a swarm of FBI cops outside, piercing the calm of the normally quiet neighborhood. "I couldn't believe it," he said. "I was really in shock. "
A neighbor who lives across the street from the home, Bob Weeks, said there had been a lot of activity and "junk cars" parked there.
"They never made a lot of noise," Weeks said. "They were pretty quiet."
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