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A team of at least two dozen FBI agents -- wearing protective masks as the coronavirus outbreak continues -- seized boxes labeled “respirators” and other items during a raid Wednesday, according to reports.

The operation happened in an industrial park in Lakewood, about 69 miles south of New York City.

Federal authorities declined to comment about the matter, the Asbury Park Press reported.


“We never confirm or deny the existence of any investigation,” Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, told the newspaper.

The agents wore jackets or vests identifying them as FBI personnel.

New Jersey continued to rank No. 2 in the nation in coronavirus infections and fatalities, trailing only New York in both categories. As of early Thursday, New Jersey had nearly 96,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 5,100 deaths.

A small crowd gathered as the operation took place around 4:30 p.m. ET, with investigators leaving the scene around 6 p.m., the Press reported.

Respirators have been among the items in highest demand since the outbreak started, as the virus typically impairs the breathing of patients who are struck the hardest.

A few weeks back, federal authorities seized a large amount of PPE (personal protective equipment) items from a location in Brooklyn, N.Y., New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed, according to


In late March, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would vigorously pursue those who hoard important medical equipment or engage in price-gouging for such items.

“We’re talking about people hoarding these goods and materials on an industrial scale for the purposes of manipulating the market and ultimately driving windfall profits,” Barr said at the time. “If you have a big supply of toilet paper in your house, this is not something you have to worry about. But, if you are sitting on a warehouse with masks, surgical masks, you will be hearing a knock on your door.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this story.