WASHINGTON -- The informant who is spurring the search for Jimmy Hoffa's remains is an ailing inmate who recently passed a polygraph exam in the probe, says a government investigator who is familiar with the FBI operation in Michigan.
The informant, Donovan Wells, 75, remembers ''suspicious activity" on what is now called Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford Township, Mich., at the time Hoffa disappeared, the investigator said yesterday.
The investigator spoke on the condition of anonymity because some of the information he was relating comes from records that have been ordered sealed by a federal judge. Among them is an FBI affidavit detailing the basis for the search warrant used to dig up the ground on the horse farm.
On the day Hoffa vanished, the property was owned by Hoffa associate Rolland McMaster, according to Oakland County, Mich., property records. McMaster's lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, says FBI agents visited the 93-year-old retired Teamster this week.
Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975, at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant about 20 miles from the farm, which McMaster owned throughout the 1970s.
As one example of the account Wells is telling the FBI, the investigator said, Wells remembers seeing a number of cars on the property at the time Hoffa vanished, and then a short time later the cars were gone.
The information does not involve an eyewitness to the disappearance or a killing, said the investigator.
Regarding Wells and the recent lie detector test, authorities think he believes the story he's telling, the investigator added. The Detroit Free Press first reported Wells's identity Thursday night.
Wells pleaded guilty in 2003 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, according to records in US District Court in Detroit. He was accused of being part of a drug-trafficking ring and arranging for a truck to transport hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Texas to Michigan. On Jan. 15, 2004, he was sentenced to 120 months in prison.
According to a US Bureau of Prisons Internet site, Wells has been housed at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. The site says his projected release date is Dec. 27, 2012.