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Tag: ATF

ATF Operation Veers into Human Trafficking and Naked Detective’s Massage


By Les Zaitz
The Oregonian

PORTLAND, Ore. — A police operation meant to protect girls working for a pimp ended with an 18-year-old woman partially stripped, talking sex while massaging a naked police detective in a hotel room.

The 2011 episode in a Vancouver, Wash., hotel was an odd conclusion to a long undercover operation run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency for months bought guns and drugs through a phony store in Gresham.

Prostitution wasn’t a target of “Operation Kraken” because ATF doesn’t investigate human trafficking. But federal agents opened the case even as they shut down the eight-month undercover operation.

To read the full story click here. 

Chicago Tribune Editorial: Should ATF Headquarters Be Named for Eliot Ness

Al Capone/fbi photo

By the Chicago Tribune
Editorial Page

Chicago

We all know crime fighter Eliot Ness brought down Chicago mobster Al Capone, right?

Not quite. Ness spent the best years of his life in a hunt to put Capone behind bars, but he had less to do with the final outcome than legend has it. Ness retired from federal law enforcement in his prime, then worked as a public safety official in Ohio. His personal life became a mess and he died at age 54.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin are pushing to name the Washington headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after Ness. This has prompted a delicious debate about Chicago history during Prohibition.

Alderman Ed Burke, the City Council’s resident historian, has dismissed the famous lawman. “Eliot Ness had a checkered career after leaving the federal government,” Burke said. “I simply do not think his image matches the actual reality of his legacy.”

Read more here

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Two ATF Agents Wounded in Oklahoma Shooting While Trying to Arrest Suspect

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Two ATF agents were wounded in Oklahoma after trying to arrest a man wanted in a shooting, the Associated Press reports.

The agents, whose names were not revealed, were treated and released and sustained no serious injuries.

Seventeen-year-old Henry Jackson was shot and killed by local police after he opened fire on them at 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Ardmore, according to police.

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FBI’s David Bowdich Named ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year for 2013

David Bowdich

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

David Bowdich, special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the Los Angeles Division, has been named ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year for 2013.

Bowdich, who is considered a rising star in the bureau, has been an agent since 1995.

Bowdich earns the award for a variety of reasons. He’s well respected among the troops and has shown strong leadership and support for his agents. He’s also a hard worker.

He was at the forefront of the fatal shooting of a TSA officer at LAX Airport, and was a key person involved in the probe into four California men who were busted for plotting to attack Americans and U.S. military bases overseas.

While in San Diego earlier in his career, he led a yearlong wiretap investigation that resulted in the first federal racketeering convictions ever to be brought against street gang members in the Southern District of California. He also  been involved in the past in cracking down on kidnappings on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

In 2011, he was  entrusted to  handle the transition of a new FBI Director when it was thought Robert S. Mueller III was going to step down after his 10 -year term. Mueller eventually got a two-year extension.

Bowdich was named to the SAC post in Los Angeles in 2012.

Bowdich becomes the sixth recipient of the award. Last year, it went to the FBI’s John Perren.

Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008), Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009), Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010) and Thomas Brandon, deputy Director of ATF (2011).

 

ATF Officials Defend Use of People with Mental Disabilities in Storefront Stings Nationwide

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Top ATF officials said they did nothing wrong by using people with mental disabilities in storefront stings nationwide, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The comments came during a meeting with The Arc, a disability rights group, that was outraged by the discovery that ATF agents used rogue tactics to conduct storefront stings.

The people with disabilities were often used to promote the operations and then arrested, the Journal Sentinel found last week.

ATF officials said they used “common sense” and acknowledged it was difficult determine who has mental disabilities.

“When we pointed out that perhaps everybody would be in a better position if they had training to recognize the characteristics or red flags that they are dealing with someone with a diminished capacity, they simply agreed that it would be worthwhile and appropriate, that ‘common sense’ could be more well-informed,” Peter Berns, head of The Arc, told the Journal Sentinel.

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Milwaukee Paper: Inspector General Must Investigate ATF’s Rogue Tactics in Milwaukee

 

Michael Horowitz

By Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Opinion 

There should be no question over whether Inspector General Michael Horowitz should expand his investigation into undercover storefront operations by the ATF to include rogue tactics exposed by a Journal Sentinel Watchdog Report investigation.

An official with the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday that Horowitz “can and should” expand the investigation, and that’s exactly right. The only question is why have things gone on this long without a proper investigation and what the government will do now to correct matters.

The Watchdog Report investigation by reporters Raquel Rutledge and John Diedrich found that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has used rogue tactics in storefront operations across the nation for years.

For example, the report noted, agents recruited mentally disabled individuals to promote their operations — including paying one to get a tattoo — and later arrested them. They also put stings near schools and churches, increasing arrest numbers and penalties — and attracting juveniles with free video games and alcohol, according to the report. And they overpaid for guns, encouraging break-ins and purchases from gun stores for a quick profit, the report said.

 

To read more click here.

Report: ATF Exploits Mentally Disabled People, Children During Questionable Investigations

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF used some questionable tactics in investigations that included exploiting mentally challenged people, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel showed.

 After reviewing thousands of documents, the paper found:

■ ATF agents befriended mentally disabled people to drum up business and later arrested them in at least four cities in addition to Milwaukee. In Wichita, Kan., ATF agents referred to a man with a low IQ as “slow-headed” before deciding to secretly use him as a key cog in their sting. And agents in Albuquerque, N.M., gave a brain-damaged drug addict with little knowledge of weapons a “tutorial” on machine guns, hoping he could find them one.

■ Agents in several cities opened undercover gun- and drug-buying operations in safe zones near churches and schools, allowed juveniles to come in and play video games and teens to smoke marijuana, and provided alcohol to underage youths. In Portland, attorneys for three teens who were charged said a female agent dressed provocatively, flirted with the boys and encouraged them to bring drugs and weapons to the store to sell.

■ As they did in Milwaukee, agents in other cities offered sky-high prices for guns, leading suspects to buy firearms at stores and turn around and sell them to undercover agents for a quick profit. In other stings, agents ran fake pawnshops and readily bought stolen items, such as electronics and bikes — no questions asked — spurring burglaries and theft. In Atlanta, agents bought guns that had been stolen just hours earlier, several ripped off from police cars.

To read more click here.

 

ATF Gets Involved in Protecting World-Renowned Open-Air Art Exhibit in Detriot

photo by Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The ATF is protecting art in Detroit.

Arsonists struck the world-renowned open-air exhibit – the Heidelberg Project – at least seven times since May 2, burning down entire homes that are used as installations.

The ATF on Thursday announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

“Arsons can have a devastating effect on the community, our chief concern is for families in the surrounding homes and for the lives of the firefighters who respond to these fires,” Daryl McCrary, acting ATF special agent in charge, said in a press release.