Shawano police, FBI quiet about sect's threats

Green Bay Press-Gazette, Wisconsin/February 12, 2009

Shawano - More than three months after police announced they had a person of interest in custody for making threats against 60 Shawano-area residents, investigators have offered little about their efforts to solve the case.

People named on the threat list are getting frustrated.

Shawano police said they have connected the secretive Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology to the list, which named 60 public officials, residents and members of the media. A Canadian citizen - a former business associate of the Samanta Roy sect - contacted authorities on Oct. 30 with information about the threats and received the list from sect members on Nov. 3, police said.

Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt, whose name is on the top of the list, said she knows little more now than she did in November.

"I've heard relatively nothing, and I've had so many people - both those whose names appeared on the list as well as others in the community - ask me, 'What's going on?'

"I told them 'I have no more information than you.' "

Marquardt said she recently called an FBI agent based in Green Bay, but learned little.

"He told me the case was still open," she said. The case would eventually be sent to the U.S. Attorney's Office after agents collected enough information, Marquardt was told.

The agent would not comment about whether agents have interviewed the "person of interest" identified in a November press conference.

FBI Public Affairs Specialist Leonard Peace confirmed Tuesday that the probe is continuing, but released no other details.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Roach said Tuesday he could not comment on a pending investigation.

The police informant told authorities that institute members listed people "who they feel were causing them problems in the community," Shawano Police Chief Ed Whealon said in November

"This individual provided names and indicated to the Shawano Police Department that these (sect) members wanted these people 'taken care of,'" Whealon said.

"It's definitely frustrating," Marquardt said. "I can't say my first emotion is fear, because it is not. My first emotion is disgust. I am really aggravated about the whole situation."

Marquardt said the FBI agent told her they still consider this a legitimate threat and asked that she remain vigilant about her personal safety.

Marquardt said she doesn't like being forced to make security changes at City Hall.

"I'm a people person and I like to be accessible to people," she said. "That change has bothered me."

Any news would be better than the information void that exists now, Marquardt said.

"I absolutely wish they could get on with this and either make some arrests or do what ever," Marquardt said. "It's frustrating to think that 60 people have been identified as people for some sort of threats and that our community sits here in limbo."

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