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Tag: ATF

Buffalo Officer Accused of Links to Drug and Being an FBI Informant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Buffalo Police feel duped after hiring an officer who was accused of overseeing a major marijuana grow operation and  had worked as an FBI informant before his hire, the Buffalo News reports.

Jorge Melendez became an FBI informant in New York after a wire tap caught him talking to drug dealers, police told the Buffalo News. That was before he was hired by the police force.

“He was working as a confidential informant for the FBI in New York City shortly before he joined the Buffalo Police Department several years ago,” a police official familiar with the marijuana operation said Monday, according to the paper.

The police department fired Melendez earlier this month after he was arrested by the feds for overseeing a major pot growing operation in South Buffalo. The paper reported that he often drove up to the operation in a patrol car on duty and in uniform.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said his department is examining its screening process for new officers.

Melendez, 41, is on house arrest at his apartment as part of a $250,000 bond.

Colorado Woman Sues ATF for Entering Home without a Warrant, Pointing Guns at 8 Year Old

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Linda Griego of Colorado has filed a lawsuit against the ATF for entering her home without a warrant and threatening her and her 8-year-old  son, Colby Frias, reports the WND.

Griego was already cautious about opening the door to her apartment due to a restraining order against her estranged ex-husband when a SWAT team came knocking, early on the morning of June 15, 2010, pulling Griego out of the shower and her son out of bed. The WND recounts that the agents were looking for a previous tenant who Griego explained didn’t live there anymore.

The SWAT team allegedly cuffed Griego, restraining her from comforting her child, and seemed to ignore her efforts to identify herself while they busted down the door of the child’s room.

In the meantime, Griego said they held her son at gunpoint with laser sights visible on his body. She says that two years later, he is afraid of all police and startles easily, often sleeping in her bed out of fear.

The agents finally let them go after emptying Griego’s purse and finding her ID. They left without apology.

The Indiana Supreme Court recently ruled that “there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.” Though admitting it was dismissing hundreds of years of Supreme Court decisions and the Magna Carta, it said, “We believe however that a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.”

To read more click here.

Kentucky Gun Shop Owner Charged with Threatening ATF Agent

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Anger management is a great idea for those working around firearms for a living.

Unfortunately former Kentucky gunshop owner and former prison employee Ted Ray Schlenker, 48, of Louisville didn’t get that memo.

Schlenker is charged with mailing threats and a gun to ATF agent Dan Volk in Bowling Green. Reports AP, he’s been in federal custody since his April 28th arrest.

Damning evidence was found at Schlenker’s home, discrepancies were found in his gun shop records, and he may have also had a motive.

ATF considered Schlenker a person of interest in two prior incidents. In January 2010 a grenade exploded on the property of a former co-worker’s family, after Schlenker had faced disciplinary action at work. That March a letter containing white powder and a grenade pin was sent to the same worker at the prison.

This recent ‘care package’ was sent to the ATF agent overseeing Schlenker’s investigation.

To read more, click here.

Questions Remain in Oklahoma Bombing: Book Excerpts from Oklahoma City: What The Investigation Missed — and Why It Still Matters

Perhaps no lead in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation was left hanging more glaringly than the radical community in eastern Oklahoma known as Elohim City.

It played host to some of dangerous radical criminals of the time, and there are multiple indications from law enforcement sources McVeigh himself either spent time there or met its residents nearby.

The ATF, through its undercover informant Carol Howe, knew that people at Elohim City were talking about waging war against the government and had made specific reference to blowing up federal buildings.

The failure to follow up on this intelligence speaks to a lot of the systemic problems that beset federal law enforcement not only in the lead-up to the bombing, but also in the lead-up to 9/11 — warnings signs that were missed, individual agents whose investigative instincts were ignored, and agencies more interested in protecting their own turf than in talking to one another.

Andrew Gumbel, co-author of Oklahoma City: What The Investigation Missed — And Why It Still Matters, talked to almost all the major players involved in the Elohim City fiasco, and he and his co-author, Roger G. Charles, gained access to all the government files that have been made available to date.

The characters in this extract include Dennis Mahon, a Ku Klu Klan leader from Tulsa, Oklahoma who first took Carol Howe into Elohim City; Bob Ricks, the FBI special agent in charge in Oklahoma at the time; Robert Millar, Elohim City’s spiritual leader; and Lester Martz, the head of the ATF’s Dallas field division, with responsibility for Oklahoma.

Excerpted from OKLAHOMA CITY, reprinted with permission from William Morrow

Copyright © 2012 by Andrew Gumbel & Roger C. Charles

The ATF made many excuses for failing to follow up on the leads Carol Howe had established at Elohim City. One was that Howe had been a nightmare from start to finish and her information unusable—an argument undermined by the reliability of much of what she reported back. Another was that they were ordered by Bob Ricks to back off.

That, too, appears to be untrue. John Magaw, the ATF director at the time, said the decision to stop almost certainly came from within his agency, before Ricks had a chance to express an opinion.

“I wanted to make sure that before we conducted any more raids of those kinds of places, we were properly retrained, had the right equipment, did really good intelligence, and had done very good practicing and planning,” Magaw explained in a 2010 interview. “We weren’t ready at that time.”

Magaw could not remember exactly how the decision was made, but Lester Martz most likely brought the problem to him, and he and his assistant director for operations supported Martz’s inclination to close Howe down. Remarkably, Magaw also acknowledged that the decision might have cost the federal government an opportunity to prevent the bombing.

Read more »

Belated Honors for Federal Agent Lynched in Post-Reconstruction Mississippi

William Henderson Foote, photo ATF

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

It took a while — a very long while.

The first African-American federal law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty after Reconstruction was in 1883. He was lynched by a bloodthirsty mob of 200 townspeople in Mississippi.

Now,   more than a century later, the life and service of William Henderson Foote is being celebrated.

The Washington Post tells the tragic story of William Henderson Foote, a “revenuer,” or deputy tax collector, with the Treasury’s Bureau of Internal Revenue, a predecessor to the ATF.

Though Foote’s agency at the time apparently did nothing to protect him from the lynch mob nor even acknowledge his death, the current ATF did unveil his name on its Memorial Wall during a celebration of his life Monday. As part of National Police Week, his name has also been unveiled on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Foot was also a civil rights leader, state legislator and local constable. A few days before his murder on Christmas eve of 1883, “with total disregard for his own life, but carrying the inherent responsibility of someone who has been known as a man of the law,” he tried to stop a white “whipping party” intent on lynching a black man, reports the Washington Post, quoting ATF historian Barbara Osteika. A chaotic shoot-out occurred, resulting in the deaths of 3 white men, for which Foote and 10 other black men were arrested.

The white community was not satisfied with the justice system and took vengeance into its own hands, breaking into the prison with a battering ram and dragging Foote and the others to a brutal attack.

Last year, the ATF presented Foote’s great-niece Bettye Gardner with a Gold Star Medal to honor Foote, and great-granddaughter Mattie Patricia Nolcox received one this week.

As the memorial efforts of the ATF and National Police Week attest, it is never too late to heal the wounds of history.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Authorities Charge Ex-Gun Shop Owner With Threatening Life of ATF Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

What ever makes people think they can do crazy things to federal agents and get away with it?

Maybe we should ask Ted Schlenker of Louisville, a former Kentucky gun shop owner.

Authorities charged him with mailing a 9 mm pistol and a threatening letter to an ATF agent who had been investigating his activities, the Associated Press reported.

To read the full story click here.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ATF Says 68,000 Guns Seized in Mexico Came From U.S.

atf file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. likes to think that it contributes positively to many countries. In Mexico, that’s not always the case.

ATF reports that 68,000 guns recovered by Mexican authorities between January 2007 and December 2011 were traced back to the U.S., USA Today reports.

The paper reported that many weapons were recovered after drug cartel shootouts or found in raids.

To read more click here.

 

New ATF Special Agent In Charge of LA Field Division

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Steven J. Bogdalek is the new head of ATF in Los Angeles, which includes Southern California, the agency announced.

Bogdalek began his career with ATF in Detroit in 1987, according to the PR Newswire.

From 2002 until this latest appointment, he served as Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the St. Paul Field Division, overseeing five criminal enforcement groups and one intelligence group in a three-state area. These were instrumental in the investigation, arrest and conviction of numerous violent street gangs.

To read more click here.