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Tag: ATF

Az. Feds Bust Gun Runners to Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In Arizona, which is locked in an endless battle to keep guns from going into Mexico, comes the latest.

Authorities on Tuesday announced indictments in five cases resulting in charges against 34 people accused of assisting Mexican drug trafficking organizations with illegally running firearms from the United States to Mexico.

Authorities charged in one of the key indictments that from approximately September 2009 to December of 2010 the defendants conspired to purchase hundreds of firearms, including AK-47s, to be illegally exported to Mexico.

Authorities alleged that the defendants acted as “straw purchasers” by falsely declaring they were buying the weapons for themselves. AK-47’s are considered the “weapon of choice” for Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations.

“Our office is committed to stopping the illegal flow of guns into Mexico,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said. “The massive size of this operation sadly exemplifies the magnitude of the problem — Mexican Drug Lords go shopping for war weapons in Arizona.”

Bill Newell, head of ATF in Phoenix said: “This investigation is further proof of the relentless efforts by Mexican drug cartels, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, to illegally acquire large quantities of firearms in Arizona and elsewhere in the U.S. for use in the ongoing Mexican drug war.”

Atty. Gen. Holder Issues Hiring Freeze for Justice Dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. has issued a memo calling for a temporary hiring freeze for all Justice Department employees at least until spring, saying the federal government is “facing unprecedented budget challenges”, ABC News reported.

“I anticipate revisiting the Department’s hiring and staff situation in the spring, once we know our likely full-year funding level,” Holder wrote in the Jan. 21 memo, according to ABC’s Jason Ryan. The Justice Department includes prosecutors, support staff and agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service.

Holder said he hoped the steps would “allow us to avoid more severe future measures, such as staff furloughs.”

“While we do not yet know what actions will be taken to fund the Justice Department for the remainder of the fiscal year (FY) which ends September 30, 2011, there is a realistic prospect that the Department will have to operate for the entire fiscal year at last year’s levels,” the memo continued. “This presents significant budget challenges as the cost of our operations and staffing is considerably higher this year.”

“The Justice Department’s budget request for the current fiscal year included a 5.4 percent funding increase, with over 2,800 employees being added to department’s workforce.

“This week, I issued a memorandum to all Component Heads outlining the financial measures that we need to take to ensure the Department can operate through FY 2011 within our budget. Given the Department’s vast size and broad responsibilities, the financial restrictions that I announced will be difficult but given our funding constraints are required.

“One of the measures that I announced was a temporary freeze on hiring. I also directed that components curtail non-personnel spending unless it is necessary for essential operations.”

Read memo

Gun Advocates Oppose White House Nominee to Head ATF

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF and the NRA are two acronyms that seldom play together well.

So it’s no surprise that the NRA — the National Rifle Association — and other gun rights advocates aren’t happy with the White House’ nomination of Andrew Traver to head the agency. Traver currently heads up the ATF Chicago office.

USA Today reports that gun rights advocates see Traver as an anti-gun zealot, and they oppose his nomination.

“Traver has been deeply aligned with gun-control advocates and anti-gun activities,” the NRA said in a statement, according to USA Today. “This makes him the wrong choice to lead an enforcement agency that has almost exclusive oversight and control over the firearms industry, its retailers and consumers.”

But Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has a different take.

“I see (Traver’s nomination) as a very big opportunity for the administration,” Helmke told USA Today. “Since this administration took office, they have run from the gun issue. … They need to fight for this.”

Traver’s nomination has yet to be scheduled for Senate consideration.

His nomination comes in wake of the Tucson shooting, which triggered a renewed national debate over gun control.

To read more click here.

Retired ATF Official Bernie La Forest Pens 2nd Book

Bernie La Forest/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Bernie La Forest, who headed up ATF offices in Kansas City, Detroit, Phoenix and Los Angeles before retiring, has just penned his second suspense novel —  “In The Red Dragon’s Shadow.

The murder mystery is chock full of international intrigue and involves the ATF, Detroit Police, guns, radical Muslims from Iraq, Iran and China and assassinations. It was just released.

La Forest says the story in his latest book “reboots” a few years after the conclusion of his first book “Shadow Partners”, which was released in 2010.

La Forest, a former Detroit cop, retired from ATF in 1998 and then worked as a contractor for the agency on a gun trace project from 2002 to 2007.

The book is available on Amazon.com.

ATF’s Robert Browning to Head Columbus Division

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Robert J. Browning,  Deputy Director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center at Quantico, has been named head of ATF’s Columbus, Ohio field division.

A 23-year veteran of ATF, Browning worked at Quantico as part of a multi-agency organization responsible for analyzing improvised explosive device (IED) evidence, primarily from Iraq and Afghanistan, ATF said.

ATF’s Columbus Field Division is comprised of Ohio and part of Indiana.

Browning is a native of Mobile, Ala. and a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans, La. and holds a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Virginia, according to a press release.

During his 23 year career with ATF, he has served as Chief, Public Affairs Division at headquarters; Assistant Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans Field Division; Supervisory Special Agent, Special Operations Division, Washington, D.C.; Resident Agent in Charge, Youngstown, Ohio; Public Information Officer, Atlanta, Ga. and Special Agent, Little Rock, Ark.

Va. ATF Agent Under Investigation for Allegedly Stealing Tens of Thousands of Dollars of ATF-Owned Cigarettes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are investigating allegations that an ATF agent in Virginia stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of ATF-owned cigarettes and sold them, according to the Daily Press newspaper.

The agent Clifford D. Posey, 43, who is part of the Norfolk, Va. ATF office, has not been charged, but the allegations are contained in a federal search warrant affidavit written by J. Brian Burnett, a special agent with the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s Office, the paper reported. The ATF-owned cigarettes are used as bait in stings.

The affidavit alleges that Posey of Chesapeake,Va., stole the cigarettes, moved them to a rented storage unit in Virginia Beach where he distributed the goods for money, the paper reported.

“Posey has … used his position as an ATF Special Agent to facilitate the embezzlement of property belonging to the United States,” the affidavit said. ATF said Posey has been suspended without pay since December, the paper reported.

The paper said Posey declined Tuesday to discuss the case.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ATF Wants Gun Dealers Along Mexico Border To Report Rifle Sales of 2 or More to Same Person

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF has asked the White House to ok an emergency order to require gun dealers along the Mexico border to report sales of two or more rifles to the same person within five days, the Washington Post reported.

The measure is part of an ongoing crackdown on the flow of guns from America into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.

The  Post reported that the plan revives a proposal the Justice Department and White House have sat on.

The NRA is none too happy, the Post reported.

“This administration does not have the guts to build a wall, but they do have the audacity to blame and register gun owners for Mexico’s problems,” Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA told the Post. “NRA supports legitimate efforts to stop criminal activity, but we will not stand idle while our Second Amendment is sacrificed for politics.”

To read more click here.

Fed Agents Misbehavin in 2010

 
 
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Thousands of federal law enforcement agents work their tails off to put crooks behind bars. But on occasion, some of the very same folks who carry a gun and a badge and slap the cuffs on the bad guys end up stepping over the line. Way over the line.

AOL News thought it was worth looking back at some of the more notable of these incidents from 2010:

Temper, Temper: Dallas FBI agent Carlos Ortiz let his temper get the best of him. He pleaded guilty Dec. 15 to charges that he plotted to kill his estranged wife, an FBI analyst and his boss. Earlier in the year, Ortiz was placed on leave after his wife accused him of domestic violence. Then in August he was fired after investigators learned that he had called a friend about buying a sniper-type rifle and talked about killing his wife and his boss, Robert Casey Jr. The friend, a former law enforcement type, called the FBI.

To read more click here.