Feds largely mum on reported Duggar raid

Josh Duggar is shown in this 2014 file photo.
Josh Duggar is shown in this 2014 file photo.

SPRINGDALE -- Federal Homeland Security officials don't deny sending agents to the address of a business run by Joshua Duggar, eldest son of the family featured in two television series, a spokesman for the southern regional office in New Orleans said Wednesday.

Any further inquiries should go to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, said investigations spokesman Bryan Cox. The office of U.S. Attorney Duane "Dak" Kees had no comment, spokesman Charles Robbins said.

Cox responded to questions Wednesday about a report Homeland Security had been to the Tontitown home of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Joshua's parents. Cox said he could only deny or not deny whether agents had gone to a specific address. The specific address he was asked about before the reports of a "raid" wasn't a residential address, he said.

Given the address of 14969 Wildcat Creek Road in Springdale, on Wednesday, Cox didn't deny staff of the agency had been there. That's the address of Wholesale Motorcars, a used car dealership run by Josh Duggar, according to city records. Asked if the time of the incident was about two weeks ago, Cox also said he didn't deny that.

The lot at that address was empty Wednesday.

The Duggar family released a statement Wednesday afternoon. "Yesterday, we were shocked to read that some news outlets falsely reported that our home was raided by federal agents. We are glad to see that those false reports are now being retracted. As to any investigation being conducted, to our knowledge, no member of our family is a target of any investigation of any kind by any local, state, or federal agency. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support received from our friends and fans."

Neither Robbins nor Cox answered what the purpose of the agents' visit was, whether it was about the owner, an employee or a customer.

Homeland Security Investigations is responsible for enforcing immigration law and counter-terrorism, but its responsibilities are broader than that. For instance, the agency was involved in the recent arrest of an Arizona attorney who arranged adoptions of Marshallese children in Arkansas. This, according to Justice Department news releases at the time, is because Homeland Security is a leading federal agency for investigations of human trafficking including the exploitation of youth. Therefore, the agency's mission provides few clues of what an investigation, if any, could be about.

Josh Duggar resigned in May 2015 as a lobbyist for the conservative Family Research Council the same day In Touch magazine reported he improperly touched young girls at his family's home in 2002 and 2003. The television show about his parents' home life, 19 Kids and Counting, was canceled soon thereafter. Another show, Counting On, stars some of his older siblings.

A younger brother, Jed Duggar, is running for the state House of Representatives in Springdale's District 89. Jim Bob Duggar, the patriarch of the family, served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 through 2002.

NW News on 11/21/2019

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