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FBI searches apartment in anthrax probe

anthrax investigation
An FBI investigator talks with a motorist at the entrance to Detrick Plaza Apartments next to Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland.  

From Kevin Bohn
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI searched an apartment Tuesday next to Fort Detrick, Maryland, in connection with the anthrax investigation, but so far the search has not turned up anything suspicious, a law enforcement official told CNN.

The official said the apartment owner previously worked at the U.S. Army bioweapons laboratory at Fort Detrick but does not work there now.

He consented to the search, which lasted several hours, the official said. The apartment is in a complex next to the fort.

The law enforcement official said no arrest has been made and "no one is about to be arrested." The apartment resident has cooperated with authorities before, according to the source.

In-Depth: Anthrax 

Fort Detrick has been one of the centers of the FBI investigation because workers had experimented with anthrax.

Current workers at Fort Detrick are being given polygraph tests by the FBI to see if any leads may materialize.

It is not the only government lab or contracted lab being investigated.

Last weekend, a senior government official who wished not to be identified said testing has determined the deadly anthrax mailed to various places last fall was no more than two years old.

This discovery lends credence to the theory that whoever mailed the finely milled anthrax spores -- known to be of the Ames strain -- has a current connection to a sophisticated laboratory.

Investigators have long believed the suspect possessed a sophisticated knowledge of anthrax and a high level of training.

Five people died last fall after anthrax-laced letters were sent through the mail to members of Congress in Washington and to television network offices in New York.

Along the way, anthrax spores leaking from the letters contaminated post office buildings in Washington and New Jersey.

Two Washington postal workers died of inhaled anthrax, as did two women thought to have been infected from the mail. A Florida employee of a national tabloid newspaper also died of inhaled anthrax, and though no contaminated letter was found in connection with his death, investigators found traces of anthrax in the company's mailroom.

At least 13 people developed either skin or respiratory anthrax, but they have recovered.

The strain of anthrax found in letters mailed to U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, is called Ames, the Iowa city where researchers first isolated it.




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