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FBI raids Terre Haute Wastewater Treatment plant

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO) — The FBI launched an investigation Wednesday morning at the Terre Haute Wastewater Treatment plant.

And Wednesday night, it still has people talking.

The feds are remaining silent, but Terre Haute’s top official is speaking out.

The last time we’ve seen FBI in the area was in June 2016.

That’s when Franklin Fennel and Frank Shahadey were caught in a kickback scheme through the Vigo County School Corp.

This, of course, is a completely different investigation.

Let’s start from the beginning.

“At 9 o’clock this morning, the FBI executed a search warrant at the wastewater treatment plant,” Mayor Duke Bennett, a Republican, said. “We have cooperated fully with them obviously. Given them full access to whatever they need.”

FBI agents began pulling white boxes from the plant.

The search warrant that agents executed is sealed at this time, but conversations and little information that has made it’s way to the public sends an interesting note.

“This is really targeted at an individual versus any larger scale thing,” the mayor said.

Bennett said the raid lasted about 8½ hours.

FBI agents, dressed in blue T-shirts and khakis, cleared the plant around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, taking any and all evidence they sought out.

As you can imagine, in this social media-driven world, rumors have begun to appear.

“This has nothing to do with the Power Dyne contract the city had a couple of years ago,” the mayor said. “(This) has nothing to do with our loans or bonding or wastewater treatment plant. It doesn’t have anything to do with the pilot fee. I bring that one up because I’ve heard that one today. That somehow that’s illegal. That is totally false.”

And the biggest rumor Mayor Bennett would like to “flush away”?

“Sewer rates, that’s another one I heard today,” Bennett said. “Well, the sewer rates had to go up because they were covering for this or that. None of that is true.”

But the one thing that is true is that the city has decided to launch its own internal investigation to aid alongside the FBI’s.

“(It’s) kind of revolving around the same areas they are looking at so we can find something quicker than they do because we all know it takes a while for FBI investigations to be completed,” Bennett said. “And so I want to be sure we are as proactive as we possibly can be by looking into this same general area and leaving no stone unturned.”

At this point in time, no employees have been terminated or released from their positions.

The wastewater plant will continue to operate as before, officials said.

The next step is for the city to receive an inventory list of everything that was taken from the raid.

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