DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - The FBI took two Muncie men into custody Thursday morning as part of an ongoing probe of corruption in city government.
“Federal arrest warrants were executed this morning in Muncie at the homes of Phil Nichols and Jess Neal," said FBI spokesperson Chris Bavender. "They are both currently in federal custody.”
Nichols and Neal are the eighth and ninth people arrested by the FBI after the bureau began its investigation into Muncie city officials in 2016.
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler calls the four-year federal investigation “Operation Public Trust”. It netted former Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler in November, 2019 for allegedly pocketing a $5,000 payoff in exchange for awarding city contracts to a vendor who has since been indicted.
Nichols is the father of Muncie's then-Building Commissioner Craig Nichols, whose office was raided in 2017. A federal judge sentenced the younger Nichols to two years in prison for money laundering and fraud.
The FBI and IRS began also began a joint investigation into the Muncie Sanitary District, leading to five more arrests.
Muncie's police department, where Neal worked, is also under a federal investigation.
Formal charges have not been announced by Minkler's office on Neal and Nichols.
Check back for updates.