BY KEN LITTLE
The Greene County Sheriff's Department Bomb unit was called before 8 a.m. today to an area near the U.S. Forest Service's Cherokee National Forest headquarters in the 4900 block of Asheville Highway (Tenn. Rt. 70) to investigate a suspicious package.
After an investigation of the contents, Sheriff Steve Burns said the package "turned out to be a legitimate UPS package delivered over the weekend."
Burns said the law enforcement response is connected to other reports of packages being dropped off at federal buildings in the Tri-Cities area.
The 12- by 14-inch package was dropped off in the area of the Forest Service headquarters.
A bomb team with a robot investigated the package, Burns said. Deputies earlier staged nearby in the parking lot of Hooten Hall at Campground Church of God, 4570 Asheville Hwy.
The bomb squad was called out as a precaution, Burns said.
Traffic was blocked off in both lanes of Asheville Highway about 8:30 a.m. while the bomb squad investigated the package.
Forest Service personnel were also on scene. The entrance to the visitor center was barricaded before 8 a.m. as the investigation was conducted.
Other suspicious packages were reported this morning at post offices in Johnson City and Bristol, and other locations in Johnson and Unicoi counties, authorities said.
A Greeneville Post Office supervisor said this morning that no suspicious packages had been received there.