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Tag: ATF

ATF Director B. Todd Jones Calling it Quits; Tom Brandon Will Step Up

US Attorney B. Todd Jones

Todd Jones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

B. Todd Jones, the head of ATF, who first stepped in as acting director in 2011, and later became the first ATF directory in history to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is stepping down, effective March 31.

The announcement from ATF came in a press release, which said he’s departing to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Jone’s number two person, Thomas Brandon, will step in as acting director.

“ATF employees are hard-working, dedicated individuals who serve the public to make our nation safer every day,” said Jones in a statement. “I have seen firsthand their extraordinary commitment to combatting violent crime, ridding the streets of criminals, and leveraging all available resources to keep our communities safe.”

“I will truly miss leading and working side-by-side with these men and women in their pursuit of ATF’s unique law enforcement and regulatory mission,” Jones added.

Jones initially held two jobs in 2011: He was named acting director of ATF while still serving as U.S. Attorney in Minnesota. President Obama nominated him for the permanent post on Jan. 24, 2013, and he ended his job as U.S. Attorney after being confirmed as ATF director.

Tom Brandon/atf photo

ATF Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon will serve as Acting Director. Brandon was appointed Deputy Director of ATF in October 2011.

 

 

ATF Investigates Alleged Affair Between Agent, Prosecutor During Storefront Investigations

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An ATF agent and a prosecutor had a secret affair while working together on controversial storefront operations in Georgia and are under investigation following allegations they illegally helped in informant, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. 

The storefront investigations were the subject of intense scrutiny following alarming reports by the Journal Sentinel that showed numerous problems.

ATF said it is investigating the relationship between Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Ippolito and ATF Special Agent Lou Valoze.

“The department takes these allegations seriously and is taking active and appropriate steps with regard to the employees involved,” said ATF spokesman Patrick Rodenbush, who declined to elaborate further because it is a personnel matter.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the ATF is investigating whether Valoze and Ippolito presented false information to Homeland Security for a visa for an informant.

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Judge Suspects ATF Attorneys of Fraud in Lawsuit Involving Ex-Agent Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns/his website

By Paul Giblin
The Republic

A federal judge suspects that seven attorneys representing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives committed fraud in the case of a retired federal agent who infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Arizona.

Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra banned the attorneys from filing documents in his court, and he ordered additional hearings to investigate the attorneys’ actions, essentially creating a trial within a trial.

The accusations are spelled out in newly unsealed court documents in the case involving former federal agent Jay Dobyns, a onetime University of Arizona football star who sued the ATF for improperly handling threats against him following his undercover stint with the Hells Angels.

The judge previously ruled in Dobyns’ favor, but withdrew his own decision after learning about the ATF attorneys’ conduct.

To read more click here. 

Tim Steller: Unsealed Jay Dobyns Files Look Bad for DOJ

Jay Dobyns

By Tim Steller
Arizona Daily Star

Retired ATF agent Jay Dobyns’ lawsuit against the federal government alleged they broke a settlement deal with him and mistreated him, in part by calling him a suspect in the 2008 arson of his own Tucson home.

Newly unsealed documents in his case suggest that the government misbehaved during the trial in 2013, leading to DOJ attorneys being barred from filing further documents in the case. More eerily, the misbehavior may have extended to surveillance of Dobyns’ Phoenix attorney even up into this month.

For people like me, who have sympathized with Dobyns but tried to reserve judgment about his case, the documents push us further into the retired agent’s camp. You can’t read the few filings that have been unsealed in the case without wondering why the Justice Department is going to such extremes and spending so much on what is, at base, a relatively minor contractual dispute that could have ended years ago.

To read more click here.

ATF Searches for Clues to What Sparked Mansion Blaze That Killed 6

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The ATF is looking for clues to determine what caused a mammoth fire that gutted an Annapolis mansion and is believed to have killed six people, including four children, on Monday.

The Washington Post reports that two more bodies were found in the wreckage Thursday.

The mother, Stacey Boone, posted on Facebook on Thursday: “I never knew that I could hurt this badly. It’s unreal. All one big nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”

As another day passed since the fire, investigators still had no idea what caused the fire, said Anne Arundel Fire Capt. Russell Davies Jr.

“Until we make a determination one way or another, it’s going to stay a criminal investigation,” Davies said.

Also on Thursday, the ATF began to deploy dogs to smell for explosives.

Other Stories of Interest


ATF, FBI Team Up to Track Down Person Who Detonated Bomb Outside NAACP Office

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

To solve the question about who detonated a small bomb outside the NAACP chapter in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, the federal government sent in two big guns – the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the ATF, the Denver Post reports.

Federal and local investigators still have a lot of questions to answer, including whether the mosque was the target, after the first day of the probe didn’t appear to hone in on a suspect.

“We are investigating all potential motives at this time,” said Special Agent Amy Sanders, an FBI spokeswoman. “An act of domestic terrorism is certainly one possibility, in addition to many others.”

Damage from the blast was minimal, contained primarily to a small section of the exterior.

Investigators found a can of gasoline next to the explosive device.

Authorities said they don’t know with certainty that the neighboring barber shop was the target, though the owner said he has no enemies.

“Everybody loves me,” the owner, Gene Southerland, told an inquiring client over the phone on Wednesday morning. “I don’t have any enemies.”

ATF Gets Tips, Surveillance Videos in Rash of Arson Fires in Ferguson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The ATF may be closer to solving some of the fires that were set in Ferguson on the night of the grand jury decision, CBS St. Louis reports.

With a reward of $10,000 being offered for information leading to the arrest of an arsonist, the ATF has been fielding tips and has received surveillance videos.

“And all of that is very beneficial,” says John Ham, spokesman with ATF.

“Even if it’s just word of mouth, that somebody has started one of these fires, or was associated with one of these fires in any way, that’s information that we would be interested in having,” he says.

The ATF is investigating the more than 20 fires set that night.

Stories of Other Interest


 

 

Case Stemming from ATF Stash House Sting Shouldn’t Be Dismissed, Appellate Court Rules

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal agents did not commit “outrageous” misconduct by luring suspects into a robbery of a fictitious drug house, a federal appellate panel ruled Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The decision reverses a district court judge’s earlier ruling that the suspects’ due process rights were violated when the ATF enticed them into committing a robbery.

The reversal by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals means the suspects, Antuan Dunlap and Joseph Whitfield, still face charges.

The three-judge panel questioned the practice but said the actions didn’t raise to “extremely high standard” for dismissing cases.

“The ATF targeted individuals who had already demonstrated an interest in committing robberies, and did little more than ‘set the bait’ by inventing a fictitious cocaine stash house they could rob,” the judges wrote.

Other Stories of Interest