NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Hazmat crews tested a Niagara Falls apartment Wednesday after multiple FBI agents involved in a Dec. 14 raid at the location became sick. The initial raid was executed by multiple agencies under the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and officers found drugs, firearms and an improvised explosive device in the apartment.
FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert was on the scene Wednesday while hazmat crews searched for signs of what could have led to "flu-like symptoms" in a number of agents involved in the prior raid at the Packard Court apartment.
"People didn’t realize other people were sick that had been on that search," FBI spokeswoman Maureen Dempsey said. "When it came to light in the last day or two that people had symptoms and they were all at the search, they wanted to go back and check the location."
None of the agents experienced any symptoms during the raid, according to Dempsey, and no one was hospitalized as a result. She did not know how many agents in all were affected.
"It just seemed like a big coincidence, so we're just trying to make sure there was nothing at that location that caused any of the illnesses," Dempsey said.
Agents from the FBI and ATF, the Niagara Falls Police Department and Niagara County Sheriff's Office raided the Packard Court apartment earlier this month.
Police arrested 28-year-old Jeffrey Richards on Dec. 14 at his apartment following the raid. Officers recovered amounts of suspected heroin, marijuana, and cocaine, approximately 10 firearms, various rounds of ammunition, drug trafficking paraphernalia and an improvised explosive device. Officers also found a number of items used in the manufacturing of explosive devices.
If found guilty, Richards could spend up to five years in prison, a maximum of life, and fine of up to $5,000,000.