I-Team: The Road Warriors - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

I-Team: The Road Warriors

Posted: Updated:
On a ribbon of asphalt in the Nevada desert, a strange convoy of odd vehicles with darkened windows slides along in relative obscurity. On a ribbon of asphalt in the Nevada desert, a strange convoy of odd vehicles with darkened windows slides along in relative obscurity.
NNSA is a constant presence in Nevada, particularly at the test site. NNSA is a constant presence in Nevada, particularly at the test site.
OST walks a fine line between openness and secrecy. OST walks a fine line between openness and secrecy.
Agents are mostly ex-military Special Forces -- combat hardened. Agents are mostly ex-military Special Forces -- combat hardened.
  • More from 8NewsNOW.comMore>>

  • George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

    I-Team: The Road Warriors, Part 2

    I-Team: The Road Warriors, Part 2

    A restricted area of Nellis is widely regarded as a major storage site for nuclear warheads, which is one reason why agents of a super-secret operation are in town so often. The I-Team's George Knapp was invited to take a peek at their incredible operation.More>>
  • George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

    I-Team: New UFO Mystery Surfaces

    I-Team: New UFO Mystery Surfaces

    A large object with a turquoise hue plummeted out of the sky earlier this summer and plowed into the earth south of Las Vegas. Eyewitnesses say this was no meteorite, especially since a bunch of helicopters hauled it away. Inside, find WEB EXTRA video and a blog where you can leave a comment.More>>
  • George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

    I-Team: Witness: Mystery on the River

    I-Team: Witness: Mystery on the River

    A mystery object blazed out of the sky in the early morning hours of May 14, 2008 near Bullhead City. When the I-Team first reported on it, a key eyewitness had dropped out of sight. It took awhile, but we found him. Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp has the story.More>>
  • George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

    I-Team: Mystery on the River Part 2

    I-Team: Mystery on the River Part 2

    The mystery surrounding the object that fell from the sky is pretty juicy by itself. But the stories the I-Team has been hearing about the X-Men agents in their spooky vehicles takes the tale to a whole different level. Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp has the strange details.More>>

On a ribbon of asphalt in the Nevada desert, a strange convoy of odd vehicles with darkened windows slides along in relative obscurity. There are no signs or placards to suggest who these guys are, but the tell-tale license plate reads Federal Government.

At a weigh station near Laughlin, the convoy pulled over to evaluate who we were, so we waited too. As we did, more of the mystery trucks zipped past.

Since May, when an unknown object crashed near the Colorado River south of Needles, residents have reported seeing so-called Men in Black in unmarked vehicles.

"Had seen them in the area over the last couple of months and sometimes many of them, not just one or two," said Dave Hayes with KTOX Radio.

Eyewitnesses say the men in the trucks had a military bearing, close cropped hair, but wore civilian clothes.

Ex-cop Frank Costigan says he chatted with one outside a grocery store, "He was wearing a shirt that said, ‘Nevada Test Site.' I said, ‘Exactly where is it?' and it never did dawn on me that it was Area 51. And then he says, ‘Area 51.'"

Back at the roadside encounter, the situation grew even tenser when one of the trucks pulled up beside us. A man got out, told us to produce some ID, so we asked him to first show us his.

The badge was from the NNSA, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the branch of the Department of Energy responsible for nuclear weapons. NNSA is a constant presence in Nevada, particularly at the test site, but it has a little known, elite component which doesn't interact with media.

"We're asking you to just stay out of our way, not interfere," said an agent.

What we stumbled upon was the OST, Office of Secure Transportation, the special unit created to transport nuclear weapons and weapons-grade material. Since its creation in 1975, its convoys have logged more than 110 million miles without any serious incidents, carrying the world's deadliest cargo right through cites like Las Vegas, and only a handful of people are in the know.

"We're not trying to hide anything. We're also not trying to be too overt," said Mike Flynn, Operations Manager with OST.

Flynn says OST walks a fine line between openness and secrecy. Its existence isn't a secret but its work is classified, by necessity.

Earlier this year, OST moved into Area 12 of the Nevada Test Site for specialized training. The I-Team is the first TV news crew to get a glimpse into that world.

Over the years, OST's fleet of specially modified rigs has created an aura of mystery, especially among long haul truckers.

"They think we're doing all types of different business. Anything from hauling aliens to hauling vast shipments of whatever it is that needs to be placed by the government somewhere," said Flynn.

"For the record, no aliens?" asked Knapp.

"No aliens. Haven't transported an alien," said Flynn.

The 1,200 employees of OST do a few things very well, they drive, they shoot and they train.

Agents are mostly ex-military Special Forces -- combat hardened. They must pass rigorous background checks, psychological tests, and a grueling 21 week academy. They train 800 hours every year, in particular on weapons and tactics, preparing for anything they might encounter on the road, everything from drunk drivers to hijackers to terrorists.

 "They are well capable and there are significant numbers of them on each shipment," said Flynn. "We train so we could use deadly force as necessary to protect those weapons."

OST won't say what kind of firepower each convoy carries, but it is considerable. There are high-tech surprises inside the vehicles as well, and the best communications systems in the world.

The head of this low key agency hopes the bad guys get one message. "Our best security posture is providing a target the potential adversary is going to look at and go, ‘That's too hard. These guys and gals are too good and it's not worth the effort,'" said Col. Craig Tucker.

There are limits about how much they can say, but the heavily-modified vehicles the OST uses are part of the defense system that's been devised. The trucks can flat out kill someone who tries to steal a nuke bomb.

Friday at 11, we'll tell you about the trucks and tactics, plus, an explanation about why these guys are in and out of Las Vegas so much. A hint---there's a stockpile in our backyard, one of the largest in the nation.

  • Las Vegas NewsLas Vegas NewsMore>>

  • SLS Las Vegas prepares for midnight opening

    SLS Las Vegas prepares for midnight opening

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:30 AM EDT2014-08-22 13:30:11 GMT
    After more than a year of construction, the SLS Las Vegas is ready for its grand opening. The casino resort at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard opens at midnight.More>>
    After more than a year of construction, the SLS Las Vegas is ready for its grand opening. The casino resort at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard opens at midnight.More>>
  • CEO: UMC cutbacks necessary to stay afloat

    CEO: UMC cutbacks necessary to stay afloat

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:40:55 GMT

    University Medical Center is facing its biggest employee cut in recent history, with 285 layoffs. This move affects both employees and patients at the financially-struggling, county-run hospital.

    More>>

    University Medical Center is facing its biggest employee cut in recent history, with 285 layoffs. This move affects both employees and patients at the financially-struggling, county-run hospital.

    More>>
  • 1 hurt in rollover crash at Russell and Las Vegas

    1 hurt in rollover crash at Russell and Las Vegas

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:29 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:29:02 GMT
    Metro Police are investigating a single vehicle rollover crash near Las Vegas Boulevard and Russell Road. According to police, the crash happened shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday night.More>>
    Metro Police are investigating a single vehicle rollover crash near Las Vegas Boulevard and Russell Road. According to police, the crash happened shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday night.
    More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.