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FBI raids three Houston-area homes because of chemical order

Oct. 5, 2013 at 4:47 PM

HOUSTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The FBI used a controlled explosion Saturday to get rid of a "potentially volatile substance" a day after searching three Houston-area homes, officials said.

The agency released no details about the search or the explosion, the Houston Chronicle reported. A spokeswoman, Shauna Dunlap, said only that the explosion had taken place in the back yard of one of the Houston homes after agents found "a potentially volatile substance."

Area residents said they were warned of the impending blast.

The three houses, two in Houston and one in the suburb of Bryan, were all searched Friday. All three properties are in upscale neighborhoods and are linked to a prominent Houston couple, Cecily E. Horton, a partner in M.K.G. Art Management, and her husband, Andrew Schneck.

A law enforcement source told the Chronicle the searches were triggered by a large order of a chemical that could be used to manufacture a gas along the lines of tear gas or nerve gas.

Melissa Grobmeyer, Horton's business partner, said the search involved the couple's son.

Dunlap would give no details about what was found and destroyed.

"Only a judge can unseal federal documents," Dunlap said in an e-mail to the Chronicle. "I do not anticipate they will be unsealed any time soon."

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