UPDATE 8/22/12 @ 6:25 p.m.
MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A federal raid down on the farm -- agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture executed two search and seizure warrants, looking into suspected crop insurance fraud.
WSAZ.com’s Randy Yohe has the latest from rural Meigs County where the probe targets an elected official. He's a township trustee and also a prominent farmer and business owner.
His business partner said federal agents stormed in with guns on Tuesday. That information is verified by the Southern Ohio U.S. Attorney's office in this ongoing investigation.
Assisted by Meigs County Sheriff's deputies, federal agents raided the Hot Spot convenience store off Route 33. The store is owned by Letart Township Trustee Christopher Wolfe and Terry McNickle.
We're told agents seized documents related to crop insurance and cash from the Hot Spot.
We're told Wolfe owns two commercial tomato farms in the county.
We’re also told the investigation centers on the suspicion that throughout several years, about $1 million or more of crop insurance was paid out. It also is suspected that some of that money was possibly paid for crops that were not grown at all.
Wolfe's home along Blind Hollow Road in Racine, Ohio, was also the target of a search and seizure warrant.
Yohe drove up to the door to get Wolfe's side of the story. Wolfe was outside, noticed Yohe and went inside, refusing to say anything. No one answered the door when Yohe knocked. Then shortly afterward, the elected trustee drove away in a pick-up truck.
We talked off camera at the Hot Spot to McNickle.
“They stormed in with guns, shut his store down for six hours," McNickle said. "The raid was an uncalled for crock, and he had nothing to do with any crops or crop fraud.”
No charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation.
According to the Ohio U.S. Attorney, there is a possibility that the fraud could total more than $1.2 million.
Tuesday, investigators, armed with a search warrant, raided the Hot Spot gas station in Meigs County. The business is co-owned by Christopher Wolfe and Terry McNickle. Deputies seized documents and cash during the search and seizure.
Investigators also searched Wolfe’s home on Blind Hollow Road, which is in Racine.
At this time, no charges have been filed
McNickle tells WSAZ.com the allegations are a “crock.”
McNickle says the agents armed with guns shut down the business for six hours on Tuesday. He says he has nothing to with any fraud, and that the gas station is a “place of business.”
WSAZ.com is still making every effort to contact Wolfe.
The investigation is ongoing.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
CORRECTION: When WSAZ.com updated this story on Wednesday, a name was improperly typed. The name was corrected Wednesday as soon as the issue was discovered. Larry McNickle is in no way associated with this story.
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