By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
An investigation that began Tuesday with state, local and federal agents raiding a local auto dealer has – for the time being – evaporated.
The two Andrade Auto Exchange lots were back in business Thursday morning although work was limited after the investigation disrupted equipment and files at the locations.
An employee for the lot, Jorge Almeida, was taken into custody Tuesday but was released Thursday afternoon.
“Charges have not been filed,” Almeida’s attorney Derek Miller said. “He was held in Seward County jail during an investigation for a few nights. I had extensive conversations with KBI, FBI and local investigators.
“We believe he didn’t do anything wrong in this case. Whatever he was accused of doing he was taught that those procedures were legal and correct. He is no longer in jail. When all the facts are presented, we believe Jorge will be shown to have done nothing wrong.”
Andrade Auto Exchange has been turned back over to owner Mike Andrade, and staff have returned to work.
“Andrade Auto Exchange is grateful for the support and confidence of the community,” Andrade’s attorney Dan Monnat said. “Mike Andrade is innocent of any wrongdoing and has not been charged or accused of any crime. So far, Mr. Andrade and myself have been unable to obtain a response as to why law enforcement officers searched the dealership for certain vehicle records. Andrade Auto is now open for business as usual and looks forward to continuing to serve its customers and the community as it has for the past 24 years.”
The FBI has not made any public statement as to why the search took place other than it was part of an “ongoing matter."