A grocery store that specializes in Somali foods was the site of what appeared to be a federal raid Wednesday morning.
Officials from the FBI and the United States Department of Agriculture were at Towfiq Grocery Store, 517 12th St. SE, from about 9:30 a.m. until well into the afternoon. Several bankers' boxes — apparently containing documents — were removed from the store.
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A man and woman at the scene who identified themselves as the owners refused to comment.
Ben Petok, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis, declined comment on the reason officials were at the store, and said no other information is available.
The USDA has oversight over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
There have been multiple USDA raids of stores in the Twin Cities area following investigations of SNAP fraud.
A spokesman for the Rochester Police Department said local officers were there to assist the federal agents with a warrant.
Alyssa Cross, who works across the street from the store, said she thought it was a funeral procession when she saw a line of cars approach. At least six law enforcement cars — both marked and unmarked — were parked in the area.
"They didn't all swarm into the parking lot," she said. "They came in quietly, and some stopped on the street."
Cross said most of the customers at the store are Somalis, several of whom drove past while the agents were inside the store.
"They've been walking up to see what's going on and talking to each other, then leaving," she said.
No arrests appeared to have been made at the store.