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FBI searches rural property for James Hoffa's remains

June 17, 2013 at 2:01 PM

DETROIT, June 17 (UPI) -- FBI investigators Monday searched a rural property in Michigan's Oakland Township for the body of missing Detroit labor leader James R. Hoffa, officials said.

Investigators were led to the property after receiving a tip from Tony Zerilli, 85, an alleged former high-ranking member of the Detroit area Sicilian mafia La Cosa Nostra, The Detroit News reported.

"I'm interested to see if they find something," said Zerilli's lawyer, Harold Gurewitz.

Hoffa, who was the president of the Teamsters union until 1971, disappeared in from a restaurant in 1975 while Zerilli was serving a prison sentence for an organized crime conviction.

Zerilli said he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after he was released from prison.

Zerilli has also been promoting a book called "Hoffa Found," that has a website stating the book will reveal details about Hoffa's death.

"When he says something, you have a tendency to believe it," Hoffa's son James P. Hoffa, the current Teamsters president, said of the former mob boss. "This isn't just some guy that wants to sell a book."

Last year, authorities used sonar equipment to search for remains under a driveway after receiving a tip a body, possibly Hoffa's, could be buried there, the Detroit Free Press reported.

And in 2006, FBI investigators dug underneath a horse farm near Milford looking for Hoffa's remains.

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said although those attempts to recover Hoffa's remains were fruitless, he would continue to follow leads as they come in.

"You just can't blow it off," he said. "You have to gauge the credibility of those involved and go from there."

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