Federal authorities were in Berkeley on Friday, but we don’t know why

Federal agents visited a Berkeley home early Friday morning. Image: Citizen reporter

The FBI visited a North Berkeley home Friday morning in what has been described by authorities only as “warrant activity.”

Several Berkeleyside readers asked for details after seeing FBI agents on Chestnut Street between Hearst Avenue and Delaware Street early Friday.

Details from authorities have been slim and at times have conflicted, despite numerous calls and emails by Berkeleyside throughout the day to attempt to learn what took place, or who was in charge of the operation.

Just before 8 a.m., one reader wrote, “The FBI just entered a home on Chestnut Street. Any information?” Another wrote simply, at about 8:30 a.m., “FBI action Chestnut and Delaware.”


Initially the Berkeley Police Department directed Berkeleyside to the California Department of Justice. An inquiry to that agency was not returned.

Prentice Danner, a spokesman for the San Francisco office of the FBI said his office “was an assisting agency for warrant service at that block of Chestnut St. this morning.” He continued: “There is no threat to public safety.”

Gina Swankie, a spokeswoman with the Sacramento office of the FBI described the response as “FBI warrant activity,” and said nothing further could be released. She said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, which is based in Sacramento, might have something to release in the future. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District did not respond to a request for information Friday.

One reader told Berkeleyside the block was “covered in cops and the Feds” when her husband went out to get the newspaper around 7 a.m. “It was an early morning raid.… It was pretty crazy.”

She saw some officers wearing what appeared to be camouflage clothing, and Berkeley police officers were also on the block: “A BPD cruiser was blocking my driveway so I think they were involved somehow,” she wrote. “But they did leave and the Feds in camo stayed awhile. They were in normal cars with one jeep that looked like it was full of tactical gear in the back.”


Another local resident said the jeep parked outside “had little flashing lights inside.” The law enforcement vehicles were parked outside for perhaps two hours. At one point, the resident said she could see an agent in an FBI jacket standing near the front window inside the home.

Swankie, with the FBI, said it would not be accurate to call the response “an operation.” She apologized for being “unable to provide additional details at this time.”