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September 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: ATF

Ex-ATF Agent Charged in Tulsa With Drug Trafficking

By Allan Lengel

An ex-ATF agent in Tulsa, Ok., has been charged with drug trafficking and has been implicated in a  fabricated drug buy in 2007 that sent a father and daughter to federal prison,  the Tulsa Daily World reported.

The paper reported ex-ATF agent Brandon J. McFadden, 33, who left the agency last year, has been charged in federal court with  drug conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, and aiding and abetting money laundering.

McFadden joined the ATF in 2002 after working as a cop in Lubbock, Tex.

To read more details click here.

Man Who Placed Explosives in Mailboxes in East Texas Was Angry at Govt.

mailbox2By Allan Lengel

The fear in east Texas vanished with the indictment on Wednesday of a man suspected of putting more than 30 explosive devices in mailboxes and other locations, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that suspect Larry Eugene North was angry at the government and appeared have acted alone.

ATF Agent Robert R. Champion told AP that investigators believe North is the culprit who planted 36 devices since Feb. 5. The explosives put residents of east Texas on edge.

The AP reported that North had been under surveillance for about week before being arrested while placing a bomb in a mailbox in Tyler, Tex.

Trial Begins In El Paso for FBI Agent Charged With Illegal Gun Sales and Providing ATF With False Records

gun ruger
By Allan Lengel

Trial started Monday in EL PASO for an FBI agent charged with illegally selling about 50 guns for more than $118,000 without a license, the El Paso Times reported.

FBI Agent John Thomas Shipley, 40, faces six counts of selling firearms without a license from 2005 to 2008. The paper reported that he also faces charges of providing the ATF with false sales records.

The paper reported that lawyer, Robert Perez said on opening day that Shipley’s hobby was buying and selling guns. He has been suspended without pay.

To read more click here.

“One of a Kind” James Cavanaugh –Head of ATF’s Nashville Office — Retires

James Cavanaugh/photo by atf's carolyn wallace

James Cavanaugh/photo by atf's carolyn wallace

By Allan Lengel

During his colorful career with ATF, which spanned more than three decades, James Cavanaugh found himself in the thick of some of nation’s biggest cases: The D.C. sniper murders, the Unabomber, white supremacist Eric Rudolph, church burnings and the deadly shootout at the Branch Davidian in Waco, Tex. involving leader David Koresh.

“Ninety-nine percent of him thought he was David Koresh, but the 1 percent of him really knew he was Vernon Wayne Howell, just a two-bit thug from the country in Texas,” said Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the ATF Nashville office, commenting on Koresh during a lengthy interview in October 2009 with He was one of the negotiators during the standoff.

On Wednesday, Cavanaugh, a New Jersey native who kept his Jersey street sense about him while acquiring a Southern charm during his many years working in the south, retired from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after 33 1/2 years. He’s reached the mandatory retirement age of 57.

His retirement party is Thursday night in Nashville where he headed the ATF office for 12 years.

“Jim is one of a kind, all the way from this ability to do the job, to his passion for the mission and his professionalism,” said Mark Potter, special agent in charge of the ATF Philadelphia office. “He’ll create a huge void in the organization.”

Read more »

Your Facebook Friend Could Be an Undercover Fed

facebook-logoBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department document asks the simple question: Why Go Undercover on Facebook, MySpace, etc.?

Then it goes on to explain: “Communicate with suspects/targets” … “gain access to non-public info” … “map social relationships/networks.”

The document, part of a Justice Department PowerPoint presentation, demonstrates how some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals. The presentation recently surfaced in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court.

Some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals

“This is just the way people meet these days — electronically,” James Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told AOL News. “It wouldn’t be any different than calling someone on the phone, say, in an undercover capacity. If we can meet them on Facebook by creating a fictitious account, that’s great. ”

Even so, the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco filed the lawsuit in December against about a half a dozen federal agencies to create a public dialogue on the matter and make sure agencies have guidelines for agents, according to Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney for the foundation. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, Treasury, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are included in the suit.

For Full Story

Rival Prison Gangs Working Together on Outside with Drug Cartels, Feds Say

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Sometimes law enforcement wishes not everyone got along.

USA Today reports that rival prison gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood and the Mexican Mafia “are brokering unusual criminal alliances outside prison to assist Mexican drug cartel operations in the U.S. and Mexico.”

Inside the prisons, the paper reported, the groups remain bitter enemies, the paper says.

Kevin O’Keefe, chief of ATF’s criminal intelligence division, tells the paper that says investigators have tied the rival gangs to some stolen vehicles flush with cash and weapons headed toward locations like Mexico and Texas.

“They realize that the financial gain is so lucrative that they have been willing to work together,” O’Keefe told USA Today. “It’s all about business.”

To Read more click here.

Retired Philly ATF Agent William Drum Dead at Age 85

atf_sealBy Allan Lengel

William J. Drum, a highly regarded “take-no-prisoners” Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agent in Philadelphia for 20 years, died last week at age 85, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

Drum started with ATF in 1960 and retired in 1980, the paper reported. He also worked as an investigator in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and security officer for Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City.

He was a church deacon and lived in Blackwood, N.J., the paper reported.

“He had a stable of informants,” James Kelly, retired ATF agent who worked with Drum told the Daily News. “He was the personification of the U.S. Treasury agent. He was a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners type of guy who never let up on a case. He worked 12-16 hours a day, seven days a week.”

To read more click here.

ATF-Postal Had Investigated Ala. Biology Prof in 1993 Mail Bombing to Harvard Med Prof

Prof. Amy Bishop/university photo
Prof. Amy Bishop/university photo

By Allan Lengel

It’s hard to think of a biology teacher as a dangerous person. Boring? Long winded? Possibly. But dangerous?

Well, not only did biology professor Amy Bishop allegedly kill three colleagues and wound three more in a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama in Huntsville on Friday, but now the Boston Globe reports she was a subject of an ATF-Postal probe in an attempted bombing of a Harvard Medical School prof in 1993.

The paper reports that Bishop and her husband “were questioned after a package containing two pipe bombs was sent to the Newton home of Dr. Paul Rosenberg, a Harvard Medical School professor and physician at Children’s Hospital Boston. At the time, Bishop was working as a postdoctoral fellow in the hospital’s human biochemistry lab.”

The paper reported that Bishop’s husband, James E. Anderson, “acknowledged that he and his wife were questioned by authorities about the 1993 mail bomb case, but said neither of them was a suspect. Rather, they were “subjects’’ of the attempted bombing investigation, he said.”

The husband told the New York Times that he had a letter from the ATF saying that they had been cleared in the matter.

To read more click here.