Police officers working with the Manhattan district attorney's office searched circulation offices of The New York Times in Queens, the New York Post and the Daily News in Manhattan, and El Diario in Brooklyn, the official said, speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Investigators were seeking paperwork related to the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union, which packages and delivers newspapers across the region.
Calls to the union's headquarters were not answered Tuesday. The news deliverers' parent union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, referred inquiries to the local union.
The New York Times issued a statement saying that the office of an employee at its plant in Queens' College Point area had been searched but that its news side was not part of the investigation.
Rosana Rosado, publisher of El Diario-La Prensa, also said that the Spanish-language newspaper is not a subject of the investigation and that the search warrant was seeking information into allegations of corruption at the union.
Bob Leonard of Dan Klores Communications, speaking for the Daily News, declined to comment on the raid. A call to the Post was not returned.
The 1,600-member union wields considerable power over news companies that rely on their drivers to deliver hundreds of thousands of papers each day, and allegations of connections to organized crime are not new.
District Attorney Robert Morgenthau charged that the union was under mob control more than a decade ago, after an investigation that also involved a 1992 search of the Post and Daily News offices.
The probe led to criminal charges against union members including then-President Douglas LaChance, who authorities accused of being an associate of the Luchese crime family. He was acquitted in 1995 of strong-arming the Post into switching delivery companies.