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Tag: ATF

ATF, FBI Investigating Suspicious Package with Actual Bomb Components Outside School

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators responding to a report of a suspicious package outside of an elementary school in Alabama found a device with wires and a timer.

The ATF, FBI and local police responded to a bomb threat at Magnolia Elementary School and were surprised by what they found, AL.com reports. 

According to a caller, a Latino man placed the package in front of the school.

The device, which was found on a pickup truck in the school parking lot, contained actual bomb components.

“We did find a small amount of what we believe to be an actual explosive,”  said Dave Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama.

Authorities detonated the device in nearby woods.

Federal officials said the investigation could be lengthy.

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Georgia Man Who Shot ATF Agent Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison

Steven Maurice McKinley

Steven Maurice McKinley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Athens, Ga., man who shot an ATF agent during an undercover investigation more than two years ago was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison on Tuesday.

Steven Maurice McKinley, 23, was convicted of attempting to kill a federal officer and discharging a firearm during a federal crime of violence, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

The violence broke out in September 2014 when an undercover agent agreed to buy an AK-47 and marijuana from McKinley for $800. But the meeting turned out to be a robbery attempt by McKinney, who shot and wounded the agent.

“Today’s sentence is a direct message to criminals that law enforcement is observant and it will not tolerate violent crime,” said John Schmidt, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF’s Atlanta field office. “ Steven McKinley showed a complete and utter disregard for human life when he attempted to murder a federal agent. As an agency and unified law enforcement community, we will not tolerate armed violent individuals continually terrorizing our neighborhoods and reducing the quality of life.”

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ATF Investigates Firebombing of Local GOP Headquarters in North Carolina

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating the fire-bombing of a local Republican Party office in North Carolina after someone spray-painted anti-GOP rhetoric on a nearby wall early Sunday morning.

Investigators said a molotov cocktail was tossed through a window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters overnight, causing a fire that damaged the interior of the building before burning out, the Associated Press reports. 

Campaign signs, a sofa and the walls were burned.

On an adjacent building was graffiti that read, “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”

“They are working around the clock. It is a miracle that nobody was killed,” state GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse said in an interview, calling the fire “political terrorism.”

Hillary Clinton responded on Twitter that the firebombing “is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.”

Donald Trump tweeted, “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning.”

Authorities Investigating Arson of DEA Vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

fire via pixabayBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine who set fire to a DEA vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

The SUV was in the parking lot of a building that houses DEA offices, KSNW reports. 

The Wichita Police Department said the fire broke out around 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 6.

Two people were spotted in a surveillance video approaching the vehicle before it was set on fire.

The surveillance wasn’t released, but investigators are trying to determine the identity of the two people.

The DEA, Wichita Police Department and ATF are investigating.

More Than 20,000 Guns Purchased by People Deemed Unfit to Own Firearms

gunBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than 20,000 guns were purchased by people the FBI deemed unfit to own firearms in the past 15 years because of a disagreement between the bureau and ATF.

A new report from the Office of Inspector General reveals a loophole that allowed people to buy guns, even though they were deemed unfit, the Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The responsibility for running background checks on prospective gun owners belongs to the FBI.

But the ATF and FBI disagree on who qualifies as a “fugitive of justice,” a label that is supposed to prevent prospective buyers from purchasing guns.

The FBI believes anyone with an outstanding warrant should not be allowed to purchase a gun. But the ATF disagrees, saying people who with warrants should be allowed to buy guns in the state where the warrant was issued, but not in other states.

“We recommend that the OLC issue an opinion as soon as possible to clarify the correct definition of the ‘fugitive from justice’ category of the persons prohibited from purchasing a firearm,” the review concluded. “Only then can ATF and the FBI be certain the law is being applied appropriately and as intended.”

NRA’s Influence Over Congress Leaves ATF Understaffed

atf-gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Even if the government decided to take away people’s guns, the ATF is so understaffed that it would be unable to follow through.

“Look, we don’t have the people,” Corey Ray, an ATF spokesman told Mother Jones. “Even if we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming to take your guns,’ 30 years from now you might get a knock on your door.”

The ATF said the lack of manpower is the result of the NRA’s powerful influence over Congress.

“Look, we don’t have the people,” Corey Ray, an ATF spokesman told Mother Jones.  “Even if we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming to take your guns,’ 30 years from now you might get a knock on your door.”

The ATF estimates that there are more guns than people in the U.S., and an additional 10 million new guns are manufactured every year.

To put that into perspective, the ATF has 2,600 special agents. 

Report: ‘The ATF Is Discriminating on the Basis of Race’ During Stings

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF singled out black people and Latinos while conducting controversial stings in Chicago, according to a report released by the Justice Department. 

The report found “strong, consistent and statistically significant evidence” of racial profiling.

Of the 94 people arrested during undercover stings in Chicago, 91% were black or hispanic.

The chances that agents didn’t racially profile was 0.1%, according to a Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan, who prepared the report.

The investigation concluded that “the ATF is discriminating on the basis of race.”

The ATF couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Residents Endangered by Botched ATF Sting

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A fake tattoo parlor in St. Louis set up down the street from the Boys and Girls Club, and use of a confidential informer with a troubled criminal history, help explain how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives placed some of the city’s most vulnerable residents at risk — and seriously undermined its own integrity in the process.

St. Louis was part of the ATF’s Operation Hustle City, in which agents and police set up the Ink Pimp tattoo parlor at 2806 North Grand Boulevard in January 2013. Agents posed as outlaw bikers looking to buy guns to ship to California or Mexico, and serve as drug cash couriers.

All this occurred in the same area where hundreds of kids regularly attended classes and events on a campus that promised a safe environment. What were ATF agents and their bosses thinking? This appalling example of disregard deals another blow to citizen confidence in law enforcement at a time when federal agencies should be helping to restore public trust.

The Justice Department released a highly critical report last week of undercover ATF storefront operations aimed at getting illegal guns and drugs off the streets in St. Louis and four other cities. The report criticized the operations for inadequate oversight, accountability, training and planning, but did not recommend ending them.

The report said ATF should consolidate its expertise in running storefront operations and not proceed with such stings until agency directors agree they are properly designed and executed.

An agency that has existed in one form or another since 1886 shouldn’t need to be told to properly design and execute operations, especially ones that endanger the very lives of citizens they are supposed to protect. Having issued new directives to the ATF, the Justice Department will need to monitor for implementation.

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