No sign of Hoffa after 1st day of search for union boss' remains in suburban Detroit field | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No sign of Hoffa after 1st day of search for union boss' remains in suburban Detroit field

Attorney David Chasnick talks on a phone near the scene in Oakland Township, Mich., Monday, June 17, 2013 where officials search for the remains of Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa who disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975. Chasnick represents reputed Mafia captain Tony Zerilli who told Detroit TV station WDIV that he knew where Hoffa was buried and that the FBI had enough information for a search warrant to dig at the site. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
June 17, 2013 - 7:13 PM

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Federal agents revived the hunt for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa on Monday, digging around in a suburban Detroit field where a reputed Mafia captain says the Teamsters labour union boss' body was buried.

Authorities used excavation equipment to root around in the Oakland Township property, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of Detroit. The FBI halted the search for the day at about 7 p.m., and planned to resume their efforts on Tuesday.

Robert Foley, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit division, made a few brief comments during a news conference about the latest search for the union leader who went missing in 1975. He said the warrant to search the property was sealed, and that authorities wouldn't be disclosing the details of what they were seeking.

Foley didn't mention the name of Tony Zerilli, the reputed Mafia captain who told Detroit TV station WDIV in February that he knew where Hoffa was buried. Zerilli, who was promoting a book, "Hoffa Found," said the FBI had enough information for a search warrant to dig at the site, and that he had answered every question from agents and prosecutors.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, who joined Foley at a news conference, said it was his "fondest hope" to bring closure for Hoffa's family and the community.

Hoffa, Teamsters president from 1957-71, was an acquaintance of mobsters and an adversary of federal officials. The day in 1975 when he disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant, he was supposed to be meeting with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

Since then, multiple leads to his remains have not panned out.

In September, police took soil from a suburban backyard after a tip Hoffa had been buried there. It was just one of many fruitless searches. Previous tips led police to a horse farm northwest of Detroit in 2006, a Detroit home in 2004 and a backyard pool two hours north of the city in 2003.

Zerilli's lawyer, David Chasnick, said his client was "thrilled" that investigators were acting on the information.

"Hoffa's body is somewhere in that field, no doubt about it," Chasnick said. He said his client wasn't making any public comments.

Chesnick said Zerilli told him there used to be a barn in the field, and that Hoffa's body was buried beneath a concrete slab inside the barn.

Zerilli was convicted of organized crime and was in prison when Hoffa disappeared. But he told New York TV station WNBC in January that he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after his release.

Andrew Arena, who was head of the FBI in Detroit until he retired in 2012, said Zerilli "would have been in a position to have been told" where Hoffa was buried.

"I still don't know if this was a guess on his part. I don't know if he was actually brought here by the Detroit (mob) family," Arena said. "It's his position as the reputed underboss. That's the significance."

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Associated Press writer Ed White in Detroit contributed to this report.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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