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Archive for October 5th, 2011

Rep. Issa Continues to Hammer Atty. Gen. Eric Holder on MSNBC on Fast and Furious

Congressman Says Obama Admin. Officials Responsible For “Fast and Furious” Might Be Accessories to Murder

By Matthew Boyle
The Daily Caller

Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that Obama administration officials responsible for Operation Fast and Furious might be accessories to murder.

“We’re talking about consequences of criminal activity, where we actually allowed guns to walk into the hands of criminals, where our livelihoods are at risk,” Gosar said in a phone interview. “When you facilitate that and a murder or a felony occurs, you’re called an accessory. That means that there’s criminal activity.”

Gosar said the government should be held to the same standard as everyone else. Fast and Furious weapons were used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, as well as scores of Mexican citizens, and he thinks administration officials should be held accountable.

To read full story click here. 

 

Ex-ICE Agent Admits to Stealing Govt. Property and Selling on eBay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A  former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who was based in New York admitted Tuesday in fed court in Newark that he stole tens of thousands of dollars in government property while working for the agency and sold it on eBay.

Steven Kucan, 48, of Wood Ridge, N.J. pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property. Kucan supervised an administrative group at ICE’s offices in New York since the 1990s, and was responsible for obtaining, storing and controlling ICE equipment.

In May, authorities charged, that between December 2004 and February 2011, he regularly stole ICE property including printing cartridges, film, batteries, camera lenses, combat lights for ICE’s M-4 rifles and an immersion suit designed to prevent hypothermia in cold water.

Authorities alleged that Kucan had an eBay account under a relative’s name and sold $37,000 in ICE property.

ICE employees reported seeing Kucan wheel ICE property out of the offices on carts, including on a Saturday.

A raid at his home turned up about $40,000 in ICE property including personal computers, printers, keyboards, police batons, flashlights, work gloves, safety glasses, lifejackets, helmets, handcuffs, gun holsters, camera lenses, emergency lights and sirens, and two-way radio systems, authorities said.

 

Major Shakeup at ATF; Thomas Brandon Named New Deputy Director

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A big shakeup has begun at ATF.

Thomas Brandon, who had recently been sent from Detroit to head up the Phoenix Division and clean up the fall out from Operation Fast and Furious, will become the agency’s deputy director — the number two person.

The acting number two person, William J. Hoover, will move from headquarters to head up ATF’s Washington Field Office. And  Mark Chait, Assistant Director of Field Operations, will head up the Baltimore Division.

At headquarters, Mark Potter, former head of the Philly office, who recently was named Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations for the Western Region of the U.S. and International Operations, will become the ATF Assistant Director for the Office of Management. Larry Ford Will become Assistant Director of Office of Field Operations. Julie Torres will become Assistant Director of Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations.

Other changes are as follows: Gregory Gant will become the Assistant Director of Public and Governmental Affairs; James McDermond will return to the Office of Science and Technology as the Assistant Director; Theresa Stoop, head of the Baltimore Division, will become the Assistant Director of the Office of Human Resources and Professional Development; Vivian Michalic will become the Deputy Assistant Director of Office of Management and will remain the Chief Financial Officer for ATF; and Melanie Stinnett will become Deputy Chief Counsel of ATF.

The shakeups come in the midst of a Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, a failed operation that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of those guns have surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

They also come as  the new acting director B. Todd Jones moves to try and resurrect an agency that has been suffering from a severe case of low morale.

Reaction inside and outside ATF about the appointment of Brandon was met with praise.

“He’s a straight shooter, extremely competent, and he wants to do what’s right,” said one veteran ATF agent.

Andrew Arena, who heads up the FBI in Detroit, where Brandon was special agent in charge until recently, said:

“He’s one of the top officials I‘ve ever worked with in nearly 24 years of law enforcement. He gets what the mission is and he’s not into turf battles. He’s about getting it done.”

And Barbara McQuade, the U.S. Attorney in Detroit said “You’ll never meet a more dedicated law enforcement professional than Tom Brandon. He’s incredibly hard working, no ego and just cares about getting the job done. He’s everything you would want in a public servant.”

The change also come as the White House’s nomination for permanent director, Andrew Traver, remains in limbo. The NRA and other gun-rights groups have opposed his nomination, which has stalled in the Senate.  Observers say the nomination is likely to simply die. Traver heads up ATF’s Chicago office.

Brandon might have a better chance of getting confirmed as director. That being said,  the Obama administration isn’t like to spend political capital trying to get a director confirmed before the November 2012 election.   Jones, who is also a U.S. Attorney in Minnesota, is expected to stay on as acting director at least through the end of President Obama’s first term.

 

Ind. U.S. Atty’s Office and Other Agencies to Split Unclaimed $2.5 Million

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement agencies are singing the old “finders’ keepers” adage in Indiana this week.

After roughly $2.5 million in cash was seized during a March drug raid, with no claimants since, Indiana U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said his department and several other Indiana law enforcement agencies will split the cash,  Indiana Public Media reported.

 

 

The website pal-item.com reported that a DEA Task Force and the Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force officers seized the cash after stopping a semi-tractor trailer on the west side of Indianapolis. The money was sewn into the roof of the cab of the semi that was destined for Mexico.

The money became U.S. government property when no one claimed it, reports Indiana Public Media. Most of the cash will go to the multi-agency Metro Drug Task Force. Smaller pieces, between $50,000 and $150,000, will go to various local law enforcement offices.

Montana Atty.Gen. Disputes ATF Policy on Guns and Medical Marijuana

By Danny Fenster 
ticklethewire.com

Flair-ups continue between local and federal law enforcement over a recent ATF letter to arms dealers regarding guns and medical marijuana users.

The Belgrade News reports that Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock wrote the Justice Department this week to voice his opposition to a recent ATF letter sent to guns dealers telling them they cannot sell weapons to people taking medical marijuana.

Federal law prohibits selling firearms to any “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.” Because marijuana is a federally controlled substance, and because there are no federal exemptions for medicinal use, ATF stated that it is illegal to sell to users of marijuana.

As Montana begins its hunting season, people are buying guns and ammunition, Bullock wrote U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,  and residents are “preparing to enjoy an activity that is deeply rooted in our heritage and culture.”

Bullock claims the policy defies his state’s constitutional right to hunt, and that it “implicates serious legal issues under the Second Amendment, and the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fifth Amendment,” according to Belgrade News.

The paper reported that Bullock wrote that some medical marijuana cardholders may not use the drug all of the time, yet the firearm restriction would apply to them for as long as the card was valid.

“The ATF letter does not take this into account, even though the controlling federal regulation recognizes that a person who uses a controlled substance in a manner prescribed by a physician is not disqualified from possessing or buying ammunition or guns” under federal law, he said in the letter.

To read more click here.

Murder Suspect Fires Shots at FBI Agents Before Being Arrested

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

After shooting at FBI agents, 30-year-old Frank Perez Jr. was arrested peacefully in a Pittsburgh suburb Tuesday, station WTAE in Pittsburgh reported.

The arrest in Verona, Pa., came after a nearly three-hour standoff with agents and an Allegheny County SWAT Team, WTAE reported.

“He came out on his own,”  FBI Special Agent Jeff Killeen said, according to the station. “With those overwhelming odds, really he has no chance of  escaping and running anymore.”

The FBI said it did not fire any shots. But the station reported that a witness claimed to have seen the agents crouching and firing shots.

Perez’s 1999 charges involved his shooting at police officers, and the FBI says he is suspected of a kidnapping in Mexico as well, according to WTAE.

“This individual has demonstrated clearly that he’s very much a danger to society,” Killeen said. “He’s fired on law enforcement — not once, but twice, in two separate incidents — so we’re very, very concerned about the level of danger that this person poses.”

To read more click here.

 

FBI Hunting For Man Suspected of Murdering 3 on Montana Reservation

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents worked through the night Tuesday near the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana,  searching for the gunman  suspected of killing an elderly woman, her granddaughter and her granddaughter’s boyfriend, reports Reuters.

Suspect Sheldon Bernard Chase, 22, is “considered armed and extremely dangerous,” the FBI said in a statement.

The shootings occurred about 60 miles southeast of Billings, the state’s largest city, and 20 miles north of Wyoming.

To read more click here.