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Federal agents serve search warrant at Vick home

6/8/2007 - Michael Vick

SURRY, Va. -- Federal law enforcement officials descended on
a home owned by Michael Vick on Thursday armed with a search warrant that suggests they're taking over an investigation into the Falcons quarterback's possible involvement in dogfighting.

More than a dozen vehicles went to the home early in the afternoon and investigators searched inside before turning their attention to the area where officials found dozens of dogs in late April and evidence that suggested the home was involved in a dogfighting operation.

Surry County officials had secured a search warrant in late May
based on an informant's information to look for as many as 30 dog
carcasses buried on the property. The warrant never was executed
because Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter said he had
issues with the way it was worded.

Speaking to the Newport News Daily Press, Vick's cousin, Davon Boddie, apologized for his role in the dogfighting investigation. Boddie wants NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to know it was his fault, not his cousin's, for everything going on at the Surry County home.

"I want him to know that everything going on is really my fault," Boddie told the paper. "They're just making Michael look like something he's not. I want to apologize to Atlanta Falcons fans for what's going on. It's a lot of drama."

The search warrant expired Thursday.

"What is foreign to me is the federal government getting into a
dogfighting case," Poindexter said. "I know it's been done, but
what's driving this? Is it this boy's celebrity? Would they have
done this if it wasn't Michael Vick?"

Poindexter said he was "absolutely floored" that federal
officials got involved, and that he believes he and Sheriff Harold
D. Brown handled the investigation properly.

"Apparently these people want it," Poindexter said. "They
want it, and I don't believe they want it because of the serious
criminal consequences involved. ... They want it because Michael
Vick may be involved."

Poindexter said he found out about a sealed search warrant filed
in the U.S. Attorney's office about the time federal investigators
executed it Thursday.

"If they've made a judgment that we're not acting prudently and
with dispatch based on what we have, they've not acting very
wisely," Poindexter said.

He said Surry County officials were preparing another search
warrant for the property and that the investigative team planned to
meet to make sure they had all the experts needed to make the
search most effective.

"There's a larger thing here, and it has nothing to do with any
breach of protocol," Poindexter said. "There's something awful going on here. I don't know if it's racial. I don't know what it is."

State police assisted investigators from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and the U.S. Attorney's office in executing the warrant, Virginia State Police Sgt. D.S. Carr said, declining to comment further.

Thursday evening, a state police evidence collection truck was
parked inside the fence surrounding the house. Investigators could
be seen carrying a large sheet of plywood and a box.

The U.S. Attorney's office would not confirm a search warrant
was filed.

Messages left at Brown's office were not returned, and a
dispatcher said he left for the day at around 4 p.m.

An after-hours call to Vick's attorney, Larry Woodward of
Virginia Beach, was not immediately returned.

During an April 25 drug raid on the home Vick owns in the
county, authorities seized 66 dogs, including 55 pit bulls, and
equipment that suggested someone at the property was involved in a
dogfighting operation.

A search warrant affidavit said some of the dogs were in
individual kennels and about 30 were tethered with "heavy
logging-type chains" buried in the ground. The chains allowed the
dogs to get close to each other, but not to have contact, one of
myriad findings on the property that suggested a dogfighting operation.

Others included a rape stand, used to hold non-receptive dogs in place for mating; an electric treadmill modified to be used by
dogs; a "pry bar" used to open the clamped-down mouths of dogs;
and a bloodied piece of carpeting the authorities believe was used
in dog fights. Carpeting gives dogs traction in a plywood fighting
pit.

Vick has claimed he rarely visits the home and was unaware it
could be involved in a criminal enterprise. He also has blamed
family members for taking advantage of his generosity. Vick's
cousin, Davon Boddie, was living at the home at the time of the
raids.

Vick, a registered dog breeder, has said in more recent
interviews that his lawyers have advised him not to discuss the
investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.