FBI raids airport offices

The FBI at the Grand Junction regional Airport Authority office at Suite 302, 743 Horizon Court Wednesday morning.

Federal agents Wednesday afternoon backed a truck up to an office of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority and hauled away more than a dozen file boxes, after spending a day executing a search warrant in connection with an unspecified fraud investigation.

Denny Granum, board chairman of the airport authority, said in a prepared statement they haven’t been told about the purpose of any federal investigation or when it will conclude, but acknowledged agents Wednesday morning had a warrant “to produce certain financial records.”

“The Airport Authority will continue to fully cooperate with federal authorities so this investigation can be completed as soon as possible,” the statement said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Transportation were involved in executing the warrant, which relates to fraud allegations, FBI spokesman Dave Joly said. The fraud allegations specifically involve airport administration, he said. Joly declined to go into more detail about the warrant or investigation. No arrests have been made.

The search warrant was sealed under court order.

At least 15 file-sized boxes were observed being loaded onto the bed of a Ford F150 truck by FBI agents, and were driven away late Wednesday afternoon outside an airport administration office, 743 Horizon Court, Suite 302.

No airport staff were seen inside the office through most of the afternoon as agents boxed up files sealed with evidence tape.

Joly confirmed FBI computer specialists were involved in Wednesday’s search.

Granum’s statement said airport operations are not expected to be disrupted in the coming days. “The Authority has not been informed of the purpose of the investigation, so there is nothing more we can share at this time,” the statement ends.

Airport director Rex Tippetts did not return phone messages Wednesday.

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, said they decided to seek “special authorization” in order to publicly acknowledge Wednesday’s raid was linked to a pending fraud investigation because of “so many issues at airports right now.”

“This action has nothing to do with public safety and is not linked to the incident at Los Angeles International Airport,” Dorschner said.

Paul Ciancia, 23, was arrested Friday after allegedly shooting five people at Los Angeles International Airport, killing a Transportation Security Agency employee.


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