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Feds Launch Searches in 2001 Anthrax Probe

August 5, 2004

WELLSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) _ Federal agents searched several locations in New York and New Jersey on Thursday for evidence in the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, the FBI said.

It was not immediately known what prompted the search, or exactly what investigators were looking for. The search by the FBI and Postal Inspection Service focused on locations in Wellsville and Dover Township, N.J.

``There is no present danger to public health or safety,″ said Joe Parris, FBI supervisory special agent.

FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell said he did not know what sort of locations were being searched, and added that the supporting information for the search warrants was sealed.

``It’s part of the investigative effort. I can’t go beyond that,″ Cogswell said.

No arrests have been made, he said.

Anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed in the fall of 2001 to news media and government offices, including those of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Five people were killed and 17 sickened.

The mailings further rattled a nation already on edge after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman said authorities have conducted 5,200 interviews in connection with the attacks. She said 30 FBI agents and 13 postal inspectors are currently devoted solely to the investigation.

(LEADS throughout to correct location of New Jersey search to Dover Township, not Newark. ADDS more comment from FBI.)

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