FBI agents broke open wrong doors, business owners say
FBI agents with warrants arrived at 7 a.m. Thursday and mistakenly broke open doors to two Yuba City businesses because the law enforcement officials had the wrong address, the business owners say.
J.T. Louis, owner of an auto sales business that has been closed for two years, said his business is at 427 Garden Highway, but that agents were seeking a residence at the rear with an address of 4271⁄2 Garden Highway.
"I was shocked," Louis said of the FBI agents actions. "It was pretty scary."
FBI spokeswoman Gina Swankie said she couldn't comment about the raid and that the warrants remain under seal.
Agustin Marin, who owns an auto repair business at 427 B Garden Highway, next door to Louis' now-closed business, said a friend called him after seeing law enforcement vehicles outside the site. Marin said he went to the property.
"They wouldn't let me close to the door — my own business," Marin said.
He said an agent provided him with a phone number — for the FBI's legal division — to call and be reimbursed for the damage to the door.
Louis said he phoned the number and hung up after being on hold for 20 minutes.
"I'm going to call them back again," he said.
Louis said he asked agents if they checked with Sutter County about the different sites for the property at 427 Garden Highway, which includes the residence in the rear and the adjoining 427 B address for Marin's auto repair business. The agent said he didn't know if such a check happened, Louis added.
Swankie said the federal law enforcement agency's policy does not allow her to comment on the business-owners' statements.
Louis said he owns the apartment to the rear of the building and rented the site to two women in their 20s who have lived there for about a year. He said he doesn't know what may have led to the FBI arriving with warrants to the rental.
Louis said he had faith in the federal government before today.
"I have less right now," he said. "If you're going to do an investigation, you have to come to the proper address."