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Fbi Questions 3 In Van Theft Tear Gas, Grenade Launcher, Ammunition Seized In Raid Near Site Of Swat Van Fire

Thu., June 5, 1997, midnight

Police took three men into custody and seized tear gas canisters, a grenade launcher and ammunition Wednesday from a house just blocks from where a stolen FBI SWAT van was set on fire.

The FBI said the three men and two others already under arrest for an unrelated theft were being questioned Wednesday.

“They may have some information,” FBI agent Ed Young told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis. “I think the guys are in hiding. The weapons are hidden, and they’re trying to get rid of them.”

John Hancock, the FBI’s chief agent in Memphis, refused to comment.

A woman who lives at the house in North Memphis, Kim Smith, said a housemate was taken into custody by authorities, but she declined to give his name.

The streets around the house were blocked off, preventing reporters from following police when they left.

A second house a quarter-mile away also was searched, but police could not be seen confiscating anything and no one else was taken away.

The unmarked GMC Suburban was stolen from a hotel parking lot, and its burned-out shell was found Tuesday morning.

A dozen assault weapons, including automatic assault rifles and two grenade launchers, and thousands of rounds of ammunition were missing.

Agents from Little Rock, Ark., were at the hotel for a regional training exercise on terrorism. The FBI refused to discuss why the Suburban was left unattended or if it was locked.

FBI Director Louis Freeh in Washington on Wednesday said the agency was going all-out to find the weapons and ammunition.

Tags: auto theft

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