Local, state and federal law enforcement officials have raided tenants in the Port of Albany and several other locations in Albany and Greene counties, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.
“We executed search warrants on several locations this morning as part of a year-long, ongoing investigation,” said Heather Orth, director of communications for Albany DA David Soares.
Orth would not disclose the locations or the purpose of the raids. “We are not confirming the locations, other than to say there were several locations,” she said.
The port has 32 tenants, according to sources. Port of Albany General Manager Richard Hendrick said that police did not raid the port commission’s office. He also said that his office has been cooperating with authorities since last June.
The Albany office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred calls to Orth. Orth would not say which law enforcement agencies were involved.
Hendrick said the FBI and state police conducted the search Tuesday.
Orth said authorities conducted the raids based on sealed warrants. She would not say out of which court the warrants were issued.
Hendrick said Soares’ office has been investigating tenants at the port since late last year. He said one of the tenants lives in Greene County.
“The only thing I say is that in April and May 2008, the port commission initiated an investigation of port employees, which led to arrests on Memorial Day weekend,” Hendrick said.
Since then, Soares’ office has interviewed port employees and sought records from the commission, which the commission has provided, Hendrick said.
“We were all taken off guard by this [raid],” Hendrick said.
Police charged a maintenance worker last April with allegedly stealing more than $100,000 in copper insulator bars from crates at the port. In June, two other port employees were charged with billing personal vehicle parts to the port and with using port gasoline to fuel a personal vehicle.
The Albany Port District Commission was established in 1925. The commission is a public corporation with authority to construct, develop and operate port facilities, including a terminal railroad. It charges fees, rates and rentals for its facilities. It also can issue bonds and notes.
The city of Albany regulates the port, which covers 236 acres, 202 acres in Albany and 34 acres in Rensselaer. It has year-round deep water facilities, a wharf, 20 acres of open storage, railroad tracks and cranes.