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Tag: ATF

ATF Agents in Phoenix Learn How Easy It is to Get Criminals to Rob Dope Dealers

phoenix-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Undercover ATF agents learned how easy it is to get someone to rob a drug dealer during a sting they pulled off in Phoenix.

The Arizona Republic reports that agents were able to get complete strangers to agree to help rob dope dealers. In the end, agents arrested 70 people.

“This proved what we know to be true,” said Dennis Burke, the new U.S. attorney in the District of Arizona  said, according to the Arizona Republic. “When drugs and distribution of drugs are in our neighborhoods, violent armed criminals follow behind them.”

To read more on this click here.

Inspector Gen. Report Says FBI and ATF Still Feuding Over Bomb Investigations

As Rodney King once said: “Can we all get along?” There has been a tradition of tension between the FBI and ATF. In Washington alone, there have been high-profile cases in which agents have from both agencies have had their differences. This report will only validate what’s already been reported, including a May 2008 report in the Washington Post.

Burning car

By Devlin Barrett
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are feuding over bomb investigations — racing each other to crime scenes, failing to share information and refusing to train together, according to a draft report obtained by The Associated Press.

The report says Justice Department bosses have repeatedly failed to fix the problem.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General, Glenn Fine, has drafted a preliminary report on the two agencies’ repeated squabbles to claim jurisdiction in investigations of explosives incidents across the country — from Times Square in New York City to Arizona and the West Coast.

The most recent documented spat came last December when the FBI protested a local prosecutor’s request to use the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to investigate a blast that killed a state bomb technician and a police officer in Woodburn.

For Full Story

ATF Concerned About Drug Cartels Using Hand Grenades in U.S.

The drug war in Mexico is deadly enough, and hand grenades have made it even deadlier. Will we start seeing drug traffickers use handgrenades in the U.S.?

Grenade

By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Associated Press Writer
PHOENIX — It was a scenario U.S. law enforcement had long feared: A fragmentation grenade from Mexico’s bloody drug war tossed into a public place.

Only the grenade thrower’s bumbling prevented bloodshed in a south Texas bar – he neglected to pull a second safety clasp. But the act was proof that one of the deadliest weapons in Mexico’s drug battle is a real threat to the U.S., and investigators are stepping up efforts to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

While Mexican drug violence has been spilling across the border in the form of kidnappings and killings, grenades are a particular worry because they can kill large numbers of people indiscriminately, and they are a weapon of choice among Mexican cartel members.

For Full Story

ATF Busts Gun Traffickers With Possible Link to Mexican Drug Cartel

This certainly won’t put an end to the drug violence, but any bust that possibly involves the Mexican drug cartels is good.

gun

By Ruben Vives
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Four men were taken into federal custody this morning after a raid on a gun-trafficking ring that may be tied to a Mexican drug cartel, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

During the investigation, undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) made a series of gun purchases that began in October 2008, according to a criminal complaint.

Several handguns and machine guns, drugs and documents listing the names of customers, as well as distribution locations, were recovered during searches at each of the men’s homes.

Officers and deputies from the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also assisted in the case.

For Full Story

ATF Agents in Texas Hunt For Guns One House at a Time to Cut off Mexican Cartels

atf photo

atf photo

Guns from America are flowing into Mexico and the ATF is trying to stop it– or at least slow down the flow. It’s an uphill battle.

By DANE SCHILLER
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — In front of a run-down shack in north Houston, federal agents step from a government sedan into 102-degree heat and face a critical question: How can the woman living here buy four high-end handguns in one day?

The house is worth $35,000. A screen dangles by a wall-unit air conditioner. Porch swing slats are smashed, the smattering of grass is flattened by cars and burned yellow by sun.

“I’ll do the talking on this one,” agent Tim Sloan, of South Carolina, told partner Brian Tumiel, of New York.

Success on the front lines of a government blitz on gunrunners supplying Mexican drug cartels with Houston weaponry hinges on logging heavy miles and knocking on countless doors. Dozens of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – sent here from around the country – are needed to follow what ATF acting director Kenneth Melson described as a “massive number of investigative leads.”

All told, Mexican officials in 2008 asked federal agents to trace the origins of more than 7,500 firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Most of them were traced back to Texas, California and Arizona.

For Full Story

Read Remarks by ATF  Acting Dir. Kenneth Melson About Southwest Border Violent Crime

D.C. ATF Agent Faced With Choice: Pull Gun or Call For Help and Chase Suspects

Most law enforcement agents and officers are faced with the dilemma at some point or another: pull out the gun and fight it out or call for back up and follow the suspects. ATF Agent Bill Crummett had to make that decision.

capitol1By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Bill Crummett had just spent hours organizing federal agents to investigate a fatal shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum when an unrelated burst of gunfire flashed before his eyes.

It happened June 10, hours after the museum violence, as Crummett’s car was stopped at a light a few blocks north of the Capitol.

Two pedestrians in a crosswalk at First and M streets NW pulled out semiautomatic handguns and opened fire on a third man, who was wounded and scrambled for cover behind a sport-utility vehicle. The assailants then hid their weapons in their waistbands, leaving Crummett to make a split-second decision: Engage and risk a firefight or call for help.

For Full Story

Women Filling Some Top Fed Law Enforcement Posts in Balt-Washington Region

Baltimore ATF's Theresa Stoop

Baltimore ATF's Theresa Stoop

Federal law enforcement has come a long way. Here’s some  proof.

By Tricia Bishop
Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE — When Ava Cooper-Davis took over the Washington division of the Drug Enforcement Administration in March, she became the fourth woman in the region to head a federal law enforcement agency’s field office, alongside the “special agents in charge” at the FBI, ATF and the Secret Service.

While most of the SACs, as they’re known, said it was simply happenstance that the best people qualified for the jobs happen to be female, others see significance in the coincidence. Or, at the very least, they think it’s “cool.”

“It’s a sign of the times, I guess. It certainly is indicative of the fact that we have more women coming out of law school becoming lawyers and more women interested in the broader field of law enforcement,” said Melody Drnach, a vice president with the National Organization for Women. She oversees the group’s grass-roots efforts.

“Roles are changing for women in a positive way,” Drnach said. “We certainly hope that other field offices will take note and try to catch up with the standard set by Maryland.” The Washington division is also responsible for Maryland.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Kenneth Melson Named Acting Chief of ATF

Kenneth Melson/fbi photo

Kenneth Melson/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Kenneth E. Melson, a federal prosecutor who headed the Justice Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys since 2007, has been named acting head of ATF.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. made the announcement Wednesday along with some other appointments including Mary Patrice Brown as acting head of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Prior to heading the Executive Office for U.S. Attorney, Melson was the first assistant for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va.

On different occasions, betwtween 1991 and 2001, Melson served as acting and interim U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria office, the Justice Department said.

Melson started his federal career in 1983 as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Alexandria.

“Ken’s more than 25 years of career federal prosecutor service and his knowledge in forensic science will make him a valuable asset,” Holder said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that he will provide his talents to such an important Department of Justice agency.”