The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service agents presented search warrants to Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole at his place of business, Bob Cole Automotive at 6521 Long St.in Northeast Pensacola this morning. It has been reported that boxes of paperwork and a laptop have been removed for review.
Emails and phone messages left with the Pensacola FBI office and state attorney's office by Navarre Press have not been returned. Santa Rosa County Attorney Angela Jones stated this morning she had no prior knowledge of the warrants and does not know the nature of the warrants.
Commissioner Cole did return a call this morning and stated that he had no comment on the matter.
Len Register from the U.S. Attorney's Office cannot comment on ongoing activities until they become public record. According to Register, when there is enough probable cause to issue a warrant, the nature of the warrant cannot be made public. If there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the evidence is presented to a grand jury for review.
Even then, the nature of the investigation can remain sealed. Register stated the reason for keeping the records sealed is to protect the individual being investigated.
If no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in found, it is important to not unfairly taint the reputation of the person who is the subject of the warrant, Register said.
Navarre Press will update this story as more information is made available.