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Tag: ATF

Lenient Sentences and Weak Laws Frustrate ATF’s Battle Against Gun Trafficking

By Jeffrey Anderson
For ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nutveena Sirirojnananont is staring at a possible 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for ordering eight guns online that she directed to a federally-licensed firearms dealer in New Hampshire, but she’s all but guaranteed a fraction of that.

The Newmarket, NH, woman pleaded guilty in January to purchasing the weapons from Suds and Soda Sports, a licensed gun dealer in Greenland, NH, and using intermediaries to ship the weapons to associates in California, Florida and New York, who then shipped them to Thailand.

Sirirojnananont pocketed a 15 percent markup on the guns, which she sold through her online beauty-supply export business, cheapshop4you.com, in Portsmouth, and through an EBAY business called the PookyWookyShop. Sentencing is set for May 5.

The prospect of a light sentence isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s more the rule than the exception in gun trafficking cases around the country, a point that frustrates the top gun enforcement agency, ATF, to no end.

The chief problem, ATF officials say, is that there is no comprehensive federal statute in place that expressly outlaws gun trafficking and so-called “straw purchases” in which third parties buy weapons for people, often affiliated with crime organizations.

Paperwork Violations 

Instead, ATF says it’s forced to rely on “paperwork” violations such as making a false statement on the forms required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.

“Currently there is not a firearm trafficking law,” says ATF Agent Timothy Graden, a spokesman for the agency. “Trafficking cases typically involve people with little or no criminal history, therefore allowing them to buy firearms and then divert them to the criminal element.”

Consequently, there are cases all around the country in which people get off light for gun trafficking. Some even get probation.

Such is the case of Neil Smith, of Little Rock, AR, who got off last year with felony probation after ATF agents purchased seven firearms from him. Smith later admitted to illegally selling between 50 and 100 guns for profit.

In St. Paul, MN, Paul De La Rosa, who purchased over 119 firearms that he trafficked to Mexico, allegedly to a drug cartel, received just 36 months in prison.

And then there’s the more highly publicized case of Denver woman Stevie Vigil, who in March was sentenced to less than three years in prison, after pleading guilty to buying and transferring a firearm to a convicted felon and prison gang member who used the gun to murder Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements at his home, and a Dominos pizza delivery man named Nathan Leon.

Read more »

Federal Government Allows ATF Official to Collect Two Salaries While on Leave

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A key figure in the Fast & Furious gun-running operation was permitted to collect two salaries while on leave from his federal government job, the Washington Times reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general created the report after finding that three of William McMahon’s superiors with the ATF “exercised poor judgment” by allowing McMahon to collect his salary while also working for JP Morgan when he was on leave.

The two jobs also created a conflict of interest, the inspector general found.

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Special Report: Lenient Prison Sentences and Weak Laws Frustrate ATF’s Battle Against Gun Trafficking

By Jeffrey Anderson
For ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nutveena Sirirojnananont is staring at a possible 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for ordering eight guns online that she directed to a federally-licensed firearms dealer in New Hampshire, but she’s all but guaranteed a fraction of that.

The Newmarket, NH, woman pleaded guilty in January to purchasing the weapons from Suds and Soda Sports, a licensed gun dealer in Greenland, NH, and using intermediaries to ship the weapons to associates in California, Florida and New York, who then shipped them to Thailand.

Sirirojnananont pocketed a 15 percent markup on the guns, which she sold through her online beauty-supply export business, cheapshop4you.com, in Portsmouth, and through an EBAY business called the PookyWookyShop. Sentencing is set for May 5.

The prospect of a light sentence isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s more the rule than the exception in gun trafficking cases around the country, a point that frustrates the top gun enforcement agency, ATF, to no end.

The chief problem, ATF officials say, is that there is no comprehensive federal statute in place that expressly outlaws gun trafficking and so-called “straw purchases” in which third parties buy weapons for people, often affiliated with crime organizations.

Paperwork Violations 

Instead, ATF says it’s forced to rely on “paperwork” violations such as making a false statement on the forms required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.

“Currently there is not a firearm trafficking law,” says ATF Agent Timothy Graden, a spokesman for the agency. “Trafficking cases typically involve people with little or no criminal history, therefore allowing them to buy firearms and then divert them to the criminal element.”

Consequently, there are cases all around the country in which people get off light for gun trafficking. Some even get probation.

Such is the case of Neil Smith, of Little Rock, AR, who got off last year with felony probation after ATF agents purchased seven firearms from him. Smith later admitted to illegally selling between 50 and 100 guns for profit.

In St. Paul, MN, Paul De La Rosa, who purchased over 119 firearms that he trafficked to Mexico, allegedly to a drug cartel, received just 36 months in prison.

And then there’s the more highly publicized case of Denver woman Stevie Vigil, who in March was sentenced to less than three years in prison, after pleading guilty to buying and transferring a firearm to a convicted felon and prison gang member who used the gun to murder Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements at his home, and a Dominos pizza delivery man named Nathan Leon.

Read more »

Congressman Issa Says ATF ‘Dangerously Mismanaged’ Program Designed to Rid Street of Guns

Darrell Issa

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saying the ATF “dangerously mismanaged” a program aimed at gunning guns off the street, Rep. Darrell Issa is subpoenaing the agency for more information.

Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government reform Committee, which is investigating the ATF’s blundered storefront operations.

Issa criticized the ATF for showing a “complete lack of cooperation.”

“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

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Washington Times Editorial: ATF Breaks Law to Enforce It

By Washington Times
Editorial Board

When President Obama rewrote inconvenient parts of his very own Obamacare law, he undermined more than health care. The attitude of “we can do what we want” trickles down to the lowliest federal agencies. That’s what several federal judges are saying about the schemes of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The ATF is the Rodney Dangerfield of law enforcement; among its peers it “don’t get no respect.” So the agency devises creative ways of proving itself, if only to itself. For example, ATF agents posing as cocaine couriers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Los Angeles boasted of big plans to steal the narcotics they were supposed to deliver. They did this to goad “small-time crooks” into joining a high stakes fake “stash house” raid to obtain fake cocaine. The hoods would then be arrested.

Agents are allowed to infiltrate a criminal enterprise, but this sting constituted what a federal judge called an outrageous fishing expedition. “In these stash-house cases,” said U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II, “the Government’s ‘participation in the offense conduct’ is what makes them particularly repugnant to the Constitution. Everything about the scheme — and therefore almost everything bearing upon a defendant’s ultimate sentence — hinges solely on the Government’s whim.”

Threatened with stiff drug penalties, few perps challenge the charges, and federal prosecutors add easy convictions to their trophies. No drugs were taken off the street. “That’s the problem with creating crime,” observed Judge Wright, “the Government is not making the country any safer or reducing the actual flow of drugs.” The judge dismissed all charges against defendants, saying: “The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement — not crime creation.”

To read more click here.

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NRA Casts Ex-ATF Agent in Good Light to Trash the Agency

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The National Rifle Association has never really been much of a friend of ATF.  The NRA  sees the agency as carrying out a mission that is contrary to its own.

So it’s interesting that NRA News has put together a video that casts an ATF agent in good light. Then again, it does that by essentially casting the agency itself in bad light.

The following is a video on ex-ATF Agent Jay Dobyns, who is suing ATF. It’s an interesting video.

httpv://youtu.be/jd_1N26lExs

 

Agent-In-Charge of ATF’s Rochester Field Office Is Finalist for Massachusetts Police Job

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Scott Heagney, agent-in-charge of the ATF’s Rochester field office, is the finalist for the position of police chief of Firchburg, Mass.

The Sentinel & Enterprise reports that Scott Heagney was selected by Mayor Lisa Wong to replace Police Chief Robert DeMoura.

Heagney began his career serving five years with the Franklin Police Department.

“I was extremely impressed with Scott’s grounding in police work and his out-of-the-box career at the ATF — both will serve Fitchburg well as we grapple with many complex issues facing towns across the country,” Wong said. “Mr. Heagney did incredibly well during the Assessment Center conducted on several of the applicants by the search firm, Badgequest.”

The city council will consider the appointment on March 18.

“I have risen through the ranks of a local Massachusetts police department as well as a federal law enforcement agency,” Heagney wrote in his cover letter. “I believe the police are in the service business and must be responsive to big and/or small problems and concerns alike, with equal energy and vigor.”

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Naming of New ATF Headquarters Causing Heated Debate

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An ugly debate is brewing over the naming of the glassy new ATF headquarters in Washington D.C.

The Los Angeles Times reports that many people aren’t happy with the Senate’s decision to name the new building after famous federal agent Eliot Ness, who helped bring down Al Capone.

Opponents of the new name want the new headquarters to be dedicated to former ATF Agent Ariel Rios, who was shot and killed during a drug deal in Miami.

In 1985, the ATF headquarters was designated the Ariel Rios Building.

The ATF dedicated a reflecting pool at its current headquarters in Rio’s memory.

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