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Federal investigation in Meeker County ends with no charges filed

LITCHFIELD -- More than a year after a federal investigation was conducted in Meeker County, a metro area county attorney's office will not seek state charges related to the matter.

According to a Friday afternoon news release from the Meeker County Attorney's Office, the Anoka County Attorney "has declined to prosecute the matter" related to a 2007 federal investigation in Meeker County after seven months of reviewing the case.

"As such, the matter is closed and no charges will be filed," the e-mail indicates.

"The matter" refers to an investigation the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted in Meeker County in November 2007. The investigation included interviews with numerous individuals -- including law enforcement officers -- at the county courthouse and law enforcement center.

The target of the FBI investigation has never been released.

The Anoka County Attorney's Office took the case in June 2008 to review for any possible state charges related to the matter. Prior to the Anoka County examination, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported to Meeker County that it would not file any federal charges related to the investigation.

Meeker County passed the case to Anoka County in June to avoid a conflict of interest in the matter.

In the following months, the Tribune made multiple phone calls to the Anoka County Attorney's Office months to stay informed on the review's progress. In one of those calls, the Anoka County Attorney's Office indicated the property crimes and drugs division of the county attorney's office was reviewing the case.

The Anoka County Attorney's Office couldn't be reached Friday for further explanation or comment about its decision to decline prosecution.

On Nov. 28, 2007, eight to 10 FBI agents interviewed a number of individuals at the Meeker County Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center. The target of the investigation was never released, but County Attorney Stephanie Beckman and Litchfield Police Chief Patrick Fank both confirmed that an investigation was in progress.

In a Dec. 3, 2007, interview with the Tribune, Fank said that some of his officers were interviewed in November by the FBI. The Litchfield Police Department is also located in the Meeker County Law Enforcement Center.

Fank, who was not interviewed during the investigation, indicated the Litchfield Police Department was not the focus of the FBI probe. "Nothing leads me to believe that my department" is being investigated, Fank said in the Dec. 3 interview.