The Norman Transcript

June 18, 2013

Federal agents search land linked to Jimmy Hoffa case

By Corey Williams
The Associated Press

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Federal agents revived the hunt for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa on Monday, bringing excavation equipment to a field in suburban Detroit where a reputed Mafia captain says the Teamsters boss’ body was buried.

Robert Foley, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division, said the agency and its partners had a search warrant allowing them to dig at the property in Oakland Township, about 25 miles north of Detroit.

Officials are “here to execute a search warrant, based on information that we have involving the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa,” Foley said.

He said the warrant was sealed and details about what was sought would not be released.

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 turned out to be red herrings.

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.

In February, reputed Mafia captain Tony Zerilli 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. He said he answered every question from agents and prosecutors, and had been promoting a book, “Hoffa Found.”

Foley did not mention Zerilli’s claims in his brief comments Monday, but 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.