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Tag: ATF

ATF, FBI Investigate Suspicious Fire at Islamic Center in Michigan

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF have joined an investigation into a fire that gutted the Islamic Center of Ypsilanti in Michigan.

No one was in the building, which also includes a mosque, when the fire broke out, ClickOnDetroit.com reports

“The FBI is currently working with the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety and the ATF to determine the cause of fire that occurred at the Islamic Community Center,” the FBI said in a statement. “If in the course of investigation, information is developed suggesting a hate crime or another federal crime, logical investigation will be conducted to identify the individual(s) responsible and authorities will coordinate with the United States Attorney’s Office to identify the best course of action towards prosecution.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement Sunday afternoon:

“We urge state and federal agencies to use their full resources to investigate this fire to determine a cause and, if it is determined to be arson, a possible motive,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. “Anyone who has information about this fire, or saw anything suspicious at the time of the blaze, should immediately contact law enforcement authorities.”

Authorities said the fire appears to be suspicious.

Muslims have been the targets of hate crimes at increasing rates since Donald Trump became president.

Des Moines Register: ATF Tobacco Investigation Schemes Is ‘Highly Questionable’

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
The Des Moines Register

It’s getting harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

First there was the scandal involving federal agents who helped route guns to Mexican drug cartels. Then it was revealed that law enforcement officials nationwide have routinely abused forfeiture laws to seize the property of law-abiding citizens.

Now there are signs that agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used highly questionable — arguably illegal – cigarette sales in order to fund a secret bank account used to pay informants.

And we’re not talking about a handful of rogue agents raising a few thousand dollars. The evidence points to tens of millions of dollars being raised by law enforcement officials through the same schemes used by the criminals they were supposed to be apprehending.

The operation, detailed in a recent report from the New York Times, wasn’t authorized by the Justice Department, the agency under which the ATF operates, and that appears to have been by design. It gave agents access to a bank account that, because it was off the books, wasn’t subject to the usual level of oversight.

The scheme itself was built on a complex series of transactions, some of which involved the sale and shipment of water and snacks disguised as cigarettes.

To read more click here. 

NBC Takes A Look Inside ATF’s Lab That Connects Guns to Criminals

Gun Store Burglaries Jumped 30%, Reaching Alarming Levels in 2016

ATF photo

ATF photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gun store burglaries reached record numbers in 2016, marking a 30% increase over 2015.

The 558 reported burglaries at licensed firearms dealers is higher than any period since the ATF began tracking burglaries and robberies five years ago, The Trace reports. 

During the 2016 break-ins, the number of firearms stolen reached 7,488, a 59% increase over 2015, which had previous held the record for gun store burglaries.

Compared to 2012, when the ATF began compiling data on such crimes, burglaries from licensed dealers jumped by 48%, while the number of guns stolen increased by 73%.

Many of those guns end up on the black market.

“These crimes victimize law-abiding federal firearms licensees, causing a threat to their livelihood and even personal safety at times, and the stolen firearms further pose a threat to the safety of our communities,” said ATF spokeswoman Amanda Hils. “ATF special agents and industry operations investigators across the country work alongside our local and state law enforcement partners to prevent, respond to, and investigate these incidents.”

Pennsylvania Man Sues ATF Because 40-Year-Old Crime Bars Him from Owning Guns

atf_sealBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Pennsylvania man who is barred from possessing a gun because he was convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor 40 years ago is suing the ATF because he wants to hunt with his grandchildren.

PennLive reports that Terry E. Laudenslager was convicted of buying a stolen television in 1976. A federal law bars him from possession a firearm because he was convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison. 

Since then, Laudenslager has not committed another crime, and now he wants to buy weapons to protect himself and to hunt with his grandchildren.

Last week, he filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the ATF, hoping to win a judgment that will allow him to once again legally possess guns.

ATF Investigation of Pasadena Police Officer Leads to Search of Home

pasadena-policeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF executed a search warrant at a home owned by a Pasadena police officer on Thursday.

The officer is on paid administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation, CBSLA.com reports. 

“The ATF told [Pasadena Police] Chief [Phillip] Sanchez its investigation was unrelated to the officer’s duties with the department,” William Boyer, spokesman for Pasadena, wrote in a news release.

Federal agents were spotted loading dozens of gun cases from the officer’s home in Sierra Madre.

“The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs review per department policy,” Boyer said. “The officer has not been arrested nor have there been any charges filed against the officer at this point.”

ATF Mulls Sending Agents to Chicago on Permanent Basis to Fight Crime

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is considering sending agents to Chicago on permanent assignments to help curtain the deadly crime surge.

The agency is beginning to develop a strategy to help Chicago, said David Coulson, an ATF senior agent in the Chicago field office, the USA Today reports. 

“ATF is exploring various options as we are committed to furthering law enforcement efforts in Chicago,” Coulson said. “One of those options is to send additional agents to Chicago on permanent transfers.” No plans have been finalized yet.

The comments follow Trump’s pledge to bring in federal assistance to help Chicago attack surge in violent crimes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded that he welcomes the ATF, DEA and FBI, but he said Trump has not talked to him personally about more federal resources.

Chicago Mayor to Trump: ‘Send More FBI, DEA, ATF Agents’

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears to be taking President Trump up on his offer to send in federal help to quell violence in the Windy City.

“Send more FBI, DEA, ATF agents. We don’t have to talk about it anymore. Just send them,” the mayor said Wednesday.

The mayor advocated more federal prosecutions for gun crimes and additional federal agents to help police fight gangs and gun violence.

“Invest in law enforcement with our Police Department,” Emanuel said. “Every major city has to do more. Move more FBI, DEA, ATF. They do a great job. Use the ability to prosecute gun crimes at the federal level, and maximize that potential.”

The mayor said he has already talked about the need for more federal resources with the president, vice president and the president’s chief of staff.

“In that sense, they are aware of what our requests are, and we will look forward to working with them on that,” he said. “Supporting our police officers, supporting our kids, investing in our neighborhoods and communities are key.”

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