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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trafficking of human body parts suspected after FBI raids two Chicago area businesses

Posted: Jan 14, 2015 5:44 AM Updated: Jan 28, 2015 5:44 AM


CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- Two FBI raids occurred Tuesday in the Chicago area, and they appear to be linked to the illegal sale and trafficking of human body parts.
The two raids took place at an office building in Rosemont and a crematorium in Schiller Park.
Around noon, federal agents began putting up yellow crime scene tape blocking off the scene. Authorities all day long took out boxes and bags of evidence. Some people were also wearing hazmat suits.
The FBI had no comment, but they will confirm that there is an ongoing investigation.
Neighboring businesses said that the crematorium has been in that location at least 10 years, and that while they're used to having a crematorium down the street, what happened on Tuesday is out of the ordinary.
“It is a little exciting and kind of concerning. Anytime the FBI is on your street, you're always looking out the window to see what's going on, but we have no idea what's going on there,” said Ryan O'Leary. “We do see some smoke pop up which is a little odd, but it's part of the business.”
Federal agents have been on the scene for at least 10 hours, but at this point are not releasing any specifics.
FOX 32's Larry Yellen has been looking at the companies where searches were conducted and has more on why the feds are interested.
The investigation is being run by the FBI out of Detroit, and has now led to similar raids in Oregon, Arizona and Michigan.
In December of 2013, FBI agents raided an industrial warehouse east of Detroit. Just like the crematorium in Schiller Park, agents donned hazmat uniforms. Their focus was whether a former University of Michigan professor who owned the warehouse had been involved in selling stolen body parts.
One month later, the Biological Resource Center of Arizona was raided. That company was also involved in the body parts trade, but it's owner has denied any wrongdoing. In that case, a different scam's been suggested. Families would tell the companies they want to donate bodies to science. The companies test the bodies, find out some are too diseased for sale, but then go ahead and sell them for research anyway.
The owners of the two companies raided in the Chicago area are Donald Green and his son, Donald Green II. Both are prominent figures in in the funeral industry in Chicago. Their Biological Resource Center of Illinois, or BRCI, is not related to the Arizona company with a similar name, but the feds do want to know if their companies were engaged in the same alleged practices.
A company lawyer issued a statement Tuesday about the government probe, saying "...we are confident that its investigation will show that BRCI employs standards and practices that exceed industry and government requirements, and that we provide an important service to both our donor-families and the medical community."

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