BOZEMAN, Mont - The FBI raided Bozeman based USA Brass Thursday morning. We were tipped off by a viewer who told us federal agents were on scene by 9a.m. Throughout the morning we saw agents from the FBI, EPA Criminal Division, and Bozeman Police come and go from the Bozeman business.
Around 12:30 p.m. Agent Bert Marsden identified himself as the resident agent in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Division in Montana. He told NBC Montana agents were expected on scene through the evening, and gave a short statement about the investigation.
"We are investigating alleged violations of environmental law. An investigation takes as long as it takes, and I can't provide any details as it relates to that," said Marsden.
USA Brass cleans and resells used ammunition casings. Last fall the Gallatin City-County Health Department reported 22 people, all current or former USA Brass employees showed elevated levels of lead in their blood. In September of 2013 the US Department of Labor cited USA Brass with 10 serious violations and proposed more than $45,000 in penalties and fines.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, workers found the company overexposed workers to lead and failed to provide basic safeguards to reduce lead exposure, including breathing protection and protective clothing.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to lead, even just a little bit, can damage the kidneys and nervous system over time. The EPA investigator would not tell us whether the current investigation was directly related to last year's findings, but did say the public should not be concerned.
"I can make a statement that there is no immediate threat to the public or the community at this time," said Marsden.
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