A Berkeleysider sent an email to us this morning:

On my bike ride to BART this morning I saw a big swat team of police, including battering rams and machine guns, at a house on Acton, 1/2 a block south of N. Berkely Bart.  Wonder what was going on?

According to Berkeley Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Jamie Perkins, there was an operation that involved search warrants this morning. The Berkeley PD, however, was not the lead agency in the operation so it won’t provide further comment. Berkeleyside has contacted the FBI, the lead agency, to find out what was happening in North Berkeley.

Any reader reports?

Update FBI public information officer Patty Hansen confirmed to Berkeleyside that the FBI, together with the Berkeley PD, served some search warrants this morning in North Berkeley in connection with a drugs investigation. No arrests have yet been issued but the investigation is continuing.

Update, 13:00: Reader Kim Duir provides this eye-witness report: “I live next door at 1818 Acton St. There were more than a dozen FBI agents in camouflage and carrying automatic weapons who began shouting out side the house at 7 AM. “Search warrant, open the door!” It appeared that they broke down the door of the in law unit in the back. Very few people in the house speak English except the children. It is an extended family with elders and toddlers who mostly speak Chinese. There was no shooting and Berkeley PD and CHP officers were also on the scene.The street was filled with big SUV’s with blacked out windows. Shortly after the heavily armed and armored FBI agents went inside, they went back to their SUV’s and drove away, leaving other, less heavily armed agents to carry boxes out of the house and put evidence markers on boxes in the yard. When I expressed my concern about the children who live in the house I was told “We are aware, we are being careful, but there is more to this than meets the eye.” When I looked out my bedroom window this morning to see the source of the shouting, it looked more like a military operation in Iraq than anything I ever thought I’d see in Berkeley.”

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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4 Comments

  1. John Seal,

    Don’t be so sure.

    I lived next to an FBI and ATF action in Berkeley just a few years ago. It went down like this:

    I awoke in the middle of the night and noticed that, well, a neighboring place was on fire. I called 911 and around the same time several other people did as well.

    The BFD fought the fire and, in the course of their efforts discovered the origin of the fire (an indoor pot farm) and, on the side, a cache of semi-automatic weapons and ammunition. Upon which the fire was encroaching. And which overlooked my bedroom window. Had the fire not been stopped when it was, there is every reason to believe a few cases of ammunition would have started going off in random directions with a pretty decent chance of killing me.

    Now, in that case, it was the event of the fire which triggered things and presumably the BFD and/or BPD that called in the feds but, under the circumstances, I would hardly have had any objection had separate reasonable investigations led to federal intervention before the fire. Hell, there was, in effect, a gun pointed at my head.

    Now the details of that case don’t pertain to the case at hand. And the feds are certainly guilty of many abuses – I fully agree. But don’t reflexively presume. From time to time, they have legitimate business for good cause.

  2. Sounds like another brilliant, over-militarized use of tax dollars. Perhaps Osama was hiding in the basement.

  3. I live next door at 1818 Acton St. There were more than a dozen FBI agents in camouflage and carrying automatic weapons who began shouting out side the house at 7 AM. “Search warrant, open the door!” It appeared that they broke down the door of the in law unit in the back. Very few people in the house speak English except the children. It is an extended family with elders and toddlers who mostly speak Chinese. There was no shooting and Berkeley PD and CHP officers were also on the scene.The street was filled with big SUV’s with blacked out windows. Shortly after the heavily armed and armored FBI agents went inside, they went back to their SUV’s and drove away, leaving other, less heavily armed agents to carry boxes out of the house and put evidence markers on boxes in the yard. When I expressed my concern about the children who live in the house I was told “We are aware, we are being careful, but there is more to this than meets the eye.” When I looked out my bedroom window this morning to see the source of the shouting, it looked more like a military operation in Iraq than anything I ever thought I’d see in Berkeley.