Unit going to auction Saturday contained gun powder, ammo and gun parts
OROVILLE – Agents from the FBI and ATF seized some of the contents of a storage unit, which included illegal substances, located at 140 Chesaw Rd., but would not comment on why they had served the warrant.
“You’ll have to call the Seattle FBI Media Rep,” said Agent Chris Sadlowski with the FBI, who with several other agents were pulling boxes from the unit, one of several at Oroville Mini Storage, just outside of Oroville.
After contacting Ayn Dietrick, with media relations, the Gazette-Tribune received a call from the Spokane FBI office.
“You have some good questions, unfortunately we can only say that ‘yes’ we did execute a search warrant,” said Frank Harrill, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of the Spokane office of the FBI. “It is an ongoing investigation.”
Jeff Bunnell, who owns Oroville Mini Storage with his wife, said he had inventoried the unit in preparation for the auction. He said after discovering reloading equipment and “powder” that could be used for reloading or making fireworks, he contacted the Oroville Police Chief and the county sheriff’s office.
“They seemed to think it was OK to hold the auction,” said Bunnell, who is owed several months rent on the unit.”
He said he did not contact either the FBI or Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco, but assumed word had gotten around, possibly through his advertising of the auction.
A former firefighter with the City of Renton, Bunnell said he was unaware of the unit’s contents before doing the inventory. He said that although customers are not allowed to store some items, it’s impossible to know what is contained in them as the contents are private.
In Bunnell’s auction advertisement he lists gun reloading supplies, including powder and primers, as well as firework supplies and a variety of ammunition and gun parts.
Bunnell didn’t name the renter, only that they did not live in the area. He said this was the second time he was about to sell the contents. The first time he said the day before he was planning on putting it up for auction the renter’s then girlfriend paid the six months rental that was in arrears over the phone.
After the smoked cleared, the federal agents didn’t seize very much, according to Bunnell.
“Just a couple of small cardboard boxes that they said contained items that could be used to make illegal incendiaries and bombs, including some illegal shotgun shells that he (the renter) had made himself. Stuff they said it was illegal for him to have in his possession,” Bunnell said.
About the auction, the storage business owner said it is still on for Saturday, April 5 starting at 9:45 a.m.
“I’ve even had a call from a guy who said he was coming down with a semi-truck. I told him he won’t need anything that big,” said Bunnell. “Come on down and watch the bidding war.”