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Tag: Guns

‘Operation Legend’ Nets Nearly 5,000 Arrests in 9 Cities, Barr Announces

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Nearly 5,000 people have been arrested across nine cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative launched by the Justice Department in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Tuesday. 

Since the operation began on July 8, federal authorities and their local partners have arrested 267 murder suspects and seized roughly 16 kilos of fentanyl, 200 kilos of methamphetamine, 30 kilos of cocaine, and more than $7.3 million in drug proceeds.

Of those arrested, 1,124 have been charged with federal offenses. More than 600 have been charged with firearms offenses, and 440 have been charged with drug-elated crimes. 

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in nine cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

To see a breakdown by city, click here.

FBI Foils Plot to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

By Steve Neavling

The FBI said Thursday that it had thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ahead of the presidential election, leading to charges against 13 men who are accused of planing to attack law enforcement, overthrow the government and instigate a civil war. 

The extraordinary plot involved months of planning that included combat drills, building explosives, and rehearsing to kidnap the Democratic governor from her vacation. 

The men, angry of Whitmer’s COVID-19 restricts, are charged with terrorism, conspiracy, and weapons charges. Six were charged in federal court, and seven were charged on the state level. The groups trained together, authorities said. 

Four of the suspects planned to meet Wednesday to “make payments on explosives and exchange tactical gear.”

The FBI credited undercover agents and informants for thwarting the violence. 

“Federal and state law enforcement are committed to working together to make sure violent extremists never succeed with their plans, particularly when they target our duly elected leaders,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider called the allegations “deeply disturbing.”

“All of us can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever result in violence,” Scheinder said. “We owe our thanks to the men and women of law enforcement who uncovered this plot and have worked so hard to protect Governor Whitmer.”

The FBI has warned of the increasing dangers posed by right-wing extremists. 

Surge in Gun Sales Is Causing Delays in FBI Background Checks

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A large increase in the number of gun purchases since the coronavirus pandemic has caused delays in the FBI’s background check system, and that could mean firearms are ending up in the hands of people prohibited from owning them.

According to new data, the FBI has seen a 54% surge in background checks that have been delayed beyond three days between March and July, compared to the same time period in the previous year, Reuters reports.

Of the 5.9 million background checks, more than 5% were delayed past three days.

Gun dealers may sell firearms to customers who have to wait more than three businesses days for a background check.

The FBI is conducting a record number of background checks because more people than ever are trying to purchase guns. Between March and July, the bureau conducted 3 million background checks – a 93% increase over the same period last year.

Gun control groups are calling for more staff and resources to process the background checks in a timely process

Border Patrol Agent with Cache of Ammunition Was Arrested by Mexican Army

Border marker at San Ysidro Port of Entry, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An off-duty Border Patrol agent was arrested by Mexican army soldiers on claims that he crossed the border into Juárez with a cache of firearm ammunition.

The agent, whose identity wasn’t disclosed, was charged but later released after U.S. and Mexican authorities discussed the case, El Paso Times reports.

The agent was crossing the border in a personal vehicle using an international bridge connecting El Paso and Juárez on Aug. 4. A border inspection allegedly uncovered 30 rounds of ammunition, a loaded firearm magazine and a bulletproof vest.

“We don’t know what he came to do or what he wanted to do,” Mexican army Gen. Miguel Angel Hernandez said at a briefing on an unrelated issue.

In a statement, Border Patrol said, “Following a series of meetings between U.S. and Mexican authorities the agent was released and returned to the U.S. the morning of August 5.”

FBI Raids California Home of YouTube Celebrity Following a Mall Riot in Arizona

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI raided the California home of YouTube celebrity Jake Paul on Thursday in connection with a riot at an Arizona shopping mall, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Agents were seen removing firearms from the home.

The FBI also served search warrants in Nevada and Arizona.

“The FBI is executing a federal search warrant at a residence in Calabasas in connection with an ongoing investigation,” an FBI representative said in a statement. “The affidavit in support of the search warrant has been sealed by a judge and I am, therefore, prohibited from commenting as to the nature of the investigation. No arrests are planned.”

Paul was charged with misdemeanors in connection with the riot, but police are dismissing the
case and cooperating with the FBI.

FBI Investigating Possible Link Between 2 Shooting Deaths of Law Enforcement Officers in California

Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Deputy Damon Gutzwiller.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is working with local investigators to determine whether there’s a link between the shooting deaths of two law enforcement officers in California.

A suspect in the deadly, ambush shooting of a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office deputy on Saturday was arrested and wounded in a shootout with officers in Santa Cruz. The suspect has been identified as Steven Carrillo, 32, an active duty sergeant at Travis Air Force Base, CNN reports.

Now the FBI is teaming up with local police to determine whether that shooting was connected to another one on May 29, when a federal security officer was fatally shot in Oakland.

“The investigation into the incident in Ben Lomond, Calif. is ongoing,” the FBI’s San Francisco office told CNN in a statement. “We are working with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department to determine a possible motive and/or links to other crimes committed in the Bay Area, to include the shooting of the FPS officers in Oakland.”

Carrillo is accused of fatally shooting Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and injuring another deputy in an ambush with a rifle and multiple improvised devices.

On May 29, Federal Protective Services Officer Dave Patrick Underwood was fatally shot while guarding the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building.

Both shootings involved a white van.

Trump Withdraws Nomination of Chuck Canterbury to Lead ATF Amid GOP Opposition

Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump formally withdrew his nomination of Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury to lead the ATF on Tuesday amid opposition from Republicans.

Trump nominated Canterbury, the former national president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, in June 2019 to replace Thomas Brandon, who was retiring.

Trump notified Congress that he was withdrawing the nomination, The Hill reports.

The ATF has been without a permanent director since 2015.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July, Republicans expressed concerns that Canterbury wasn’t supportive enough of gun rights. A vote to confirm Canterbury in September was postponed.

The latest development is part of a long history of powerful gun rights groups like the NRA blocking confirmation of ATF directors out of fear they’ll be too aggressive about enforcing the nation’s gun laws.

FBI: Pensacola Gunman Who Killed 3 Sailors Planned Attack with Al Qaeda

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Saudi Air Force officer who killed three sailors at a military base in Florida in December 2019 worked with Al Qaeda to plan the attack, federal authorities said.

The connection was made after FBI technicians finally gained access to a cell phone that Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani tried to destroy, Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference, according to a New York Times report.

The FBI and Justice Department criticized Apple for refusing to unlock the gunman’s phone.

Authorities said the gunman, a Saudi Air Force cadet training with the American military in Pensacola, communicated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to plan the attack, which injured eight others.

Apple said it helped the FBI and gave investigators access to the gunman’s online storage accounts.

“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,” Apple said in a statement.