MELISSA BLOCK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
And I'm Michele Norris.
There's another search underway today for the body of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa. Federal agents and local police are spread out across a bucolic horse farm in suburban Detroit. Agents launched a search after an informant said he remembered seeing a backhoe and other equipment in Milford Township around the day that the infamous union leader disappeared in July of 1975.
Earlier today, Dan Roberts from the FBI's Detroit office told reports his agents have been searching on the farm since yesterday morning.
Mr. DAN ROBERTS (FBI, Detroit): Since that time we brought in a number of experts to help us with this search for Jimmy Hoffa. We have brought in, for example, archaeologists and anthropologists from Michigan State University. We have brought in a number of engineers and consulted with a number of architects because we believe we may have to actually physically remove at least one structure here on the property in order to adequately finish our search of the property.
NORRIS: Roberts said they haven't turned up anything interesting yet and the search could take weeks. Joe Swickard is a staff reporter for the Detroit Free Press. He's been following the story of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance since the 1980s and he joins us now from his office in Detroit. Thanks so much for talking to us.
Mr. JOE SWICKARD (Detroit Free Press): Thank you.
NORRIS: What's going on out there at that horse farm?
Mr. SWICKARD: Well, the agents are out there and they're digging and searching. And yet another chapter of what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
NORRIS: Now what about the owners of that farm? Do they figure into this story at all?
Mr. SWICKARD: Previous owners do. The main person of interest who owned that property in that area at that time is a Roland McMasters. He was a Teamster union official in the '70s and earlier and he was a close associate of Jimmy Hoffa. They allegedly had a falling out about the time Mr. Hoffa went to prison on his jury tampering and racketeering charge.
NORRIS: And in terms of the timeline of Hoffa's whereabouts before he disappeared, does this location make sense as a plausible burial site?
Mr. SWICKARD: It is definitely within the realm of possibility, because it is within easy driving distance of the place he was last seen.
NORRIS: And what was he doing in that region that day?
Mr. SWICKARD: He was supposedly going to meet with two individuals. One was a Tony Provenzano, known as Tony Pro. He was a union chief and allegedly mobbed up from New Jersey. And he and Hoffa had been in prison together. The other person who was supposed to be at that meeting was Anthony Tony Jack Giacalone, a local mafia captain, I believe his rank was. Both men are now deceased of natural causes.
He supposedly was going to meet with them and work out some differences he had in his efforts to be reinstated within the Teamsters.
NORRIS: Well today's search was launched because an FBI informant gave them a tip. What do we know about that informant?
Mr. SWICKARD: We know he's an elderly man who is serving a federal prison sentence. And a fairly lengthy one. And he came forward with some information. I imagine he's hoping to reap some consideration. We understand that he took and passed a polygraph, which may give more credence to this report than other stories that have floated by in recent years.
NORRIS: Well you've been following this story for a long time, so you know that there are so many rumors, stories, myths and legends about Hoffa's disappearance and his burial site. Can you tell us a little bit about all the other places that the FBI has been looking for Hoffa?
Mr. SWICKARD: We don't have time to go through all of them.
NORRIS: The list is that long.
Mr. SWICKARD: Some of the more notorious ones have been that he was buried in what is now the end zone of Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, and that is pretty well discounted. That he was perhaps buried in a New Jersey landfill. That he may have been dumped in Lake Michigan. Another that he is under any number of Detroit area freeways or under the Silverdome, which is the former home of the Detroit Lions.
NORRIS: You've been following this story for a long time, so I'm wondering if this feels like the real thing to you.
Mr. SWICKARD: It feels more serious than the others but after numerous times of getting worked up, you tend to sit back and wait and see what's going to happen with this one.
NORRIS: Joe Swickard, thanks so much for talking to us.
Mr. SWICKARD: Thank you very much.
NORRIS: Joe Swickard is a reporter for the Detroit Free Press.
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