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Wisconsin to investigate Gogebic-hired security firm

The Iron County District Attorney says state regulators have told him they're opening an investigation into the security firm that was guarding a potential northern Wisconsin mining site.

Bulletproof Securities agents, wearing camouflage and carrying semiautomatic weapons, were guarding Gogebic Taconite test drills earlier this month until it was revealed that the Arizona-based company was operating without a Wisconsin license. Since then the state Department of Safety and Professional Services has received multiple complaints about Bulletproof, some suggesting the company committed a crime.

Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske says the department has contacted him and said it's "opening an investigation," which it would send to him once finished.

Department of Safety spokeswoman Brittany Lewin said only that the state had received complaints about Bulletproof and they are being handled "through the normal process."

The John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club submitted one of those complaints. Director Shahla Werner said she was encouraged by this news.

"It shows that they're listening and responding to the formal actions that were taken, not just by the Sierra Club, but by others in response to the concerns about Bulletproof Securities and, you know, GTAC's actions, too."

Bulletproof Securities spokeswoman Stacy Pearson said the company was not aware of any pending investigation. But Pearson says the company welcomes it.

"There was never an intent to not comply with the licensing requirement. As soon as Bulletproof was aware, we submitted all necessary paperwork and, at this point, everything we've submitted is in compliance."

The initial round of test drilling that brought Bulletproof guards into Wisconsin is complete, though Gogebic wants to conduct more extensive testing in the near future.