FBI agents used a battering ram during a pre-dawn raid at a Temple Hills home where a number of dogs were seized, and agents were seen carrying away truckloads of evidence including what appeared to be training devices.
The raid was connected to an elaborate two-year credit card fraud and illegal cigarette trading scheme involving at least a dozen suspects, according to a federal indictment unsealed late Thursday.
The seized dogs appeared to be "pit bull type" or "Rottweilers" and included some puppies, according to neighbors who witnessed the early morning raid in the 2400 block of St. Clair Drive in Temple HIlls.
At least three dogs were counted by one neighbor. Other witnesses reported seeing at least five or six animals in federal custody.
The dogs were caged and placed in an air conditioned tractor-trailer. The ASPCA assisted federal agents in handling the animals, according to an FBI spokesman.
Another FBI search was conducted by agents in the 8600 block of Devon Hills Dr. in Fort Washington, Md. Sources have told WUSA9 the searches are related.
Agents removed dozens of boxes of evidence from the Temple Hills home. Items loaded in a pick-up truck by federal agents included carpeting, plywood ramps, and a patch of furry hide attached to a long pole with a cord.
The rear of the home in Temple Hills featured a two-stall chain-link outdoor kennel.
Neighbors said they did not notice unusual activity with dogs, and had no idea there were so many animals in the house.
"The must have been keeping them in the basement, because we never saw them," said one man.
The federal indictment does not contain any charges related to animals or suspected animal abuse.