By Allan Lengel
DETROIT — Thomas Brandon started with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 1989 in Detroit at a time when some of the most violent drug gangs, including one called Best Friends, ruled the streets. Murders went hand-and-hand with trafficking of crack and kilos of cocaine and gun purchases.
Eventually, he became the top agent in the Detroit division. In 2015, he was appointed acting director of the agency in Washington. After 30 years with ATF, Brandon, 58, recently announced his retirement from the top job. Brandon chose to spend Tuesday, his last day on the job, in Detroit where it all started.
Brandon, whose son is an ATF agent in Detroit, sat down in the Detroit ATF office with ticklethewire.com’s editor Allan Lengel, who is also editor of Deadline Detroit, to talk about his career in Detroit and Washington, the NRA and gun issues.