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Tag: ATF

Retired ATF Agent Vincent Cefalu’s Book Chronicles the Everyday Dangers of Working Undercover

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.comas

By any standards, Vincent A. Cefalu was a gutsy guy.

Cefala, who is now retired from ATF, spent 30 years with the agency as an undercover agent working criminal organizations including the Symbionese Liberation Army, outlaw motorcycle gangs and splinter groups of the Ku Klux Klan.

Now, Cefalu has penned a book, “RatSnakes,” which chronicles the dangers he faced daily on the job.

His webpage describes the book this way:

Part field guide, part heart-pounding thrill-ride, Cefalu takes readers on a tour of what it’s like to confront death on a daily basis. En route, he gives us a look at the on-the-job techniques of kicking in doors, orchestrating “street theater” to ensnare criminals, and making high-stakes gun buys. His irreverent, explicit stories from the inside are a mix of danger and unexpected hilarity that will have readers laughing one minute and then biting their nails when things break bad.

Cefalu, who has a master’s degree in the Psychological sciences, is an adjunct faculty instructor  in the Psychology Department and Criminal Justice Department at the University of Phoenix and ITT Technical College.

Joaquin “Jack” Garcia, a former undercover FBI agent and New York Times bestselling author of Making Jack Falcone, wrote this about Cefalu’s book:

The LE Undercover community is limited to those who are born with the ability to take on some of the most dangerous, ‘up close and personal’ assignments. In that select group, Vince Cefalu is one who stands out because of his bravery and his ability to walk undetected among the most hardened criminals. A real badass who I’m proud to call my friend.”

To buy a book, click here.

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Gilroy Mass Shooter Posted White Supremacist Manifesto Before Opening Fire

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

About an hour before opening fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California on Sunday, the 19-year-old gunman posted about a white supremacist manifesto on Instagram.

Santino William Legan, who killed three people and injured 15 others, encouraged his Instagram followers to read, “Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest,” a fringe book that describes black and Jewish people as inferior and advocates for women as property.

The Instagram post, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle and other publications, has been removed.

“Books play a big role in the white supremacist movement,” Peter Simi, a professor of sociology at Chapman University in Southern California who studies political extremism and violence, told the Chronicle. “Posting (about a book) is a clear shout to say the reason I’m doing this violence is not just personal but to say I’m acting on behalf of a larger movement.”

The shooting follows congressional testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said most domestic terrorism cases in the past nine months have been “motivate by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

“Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?” Legan wrote.

Legan was killed by police shortly after he opened fire.

The FBI and ATF are helping local police investigate.

One of ATF’s Most Wanted Fugitives Was Arrested at Native American Reservation

Michael Strain

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. marshals arrested one of the ATF’s most wanted fugitives after he spent eight years evading authorities.

Michael Duane Strain, 62, of Iowa, fled after he was indicted on federal firearms charges in 2011. Federal agents found thousands of rounds of ammunition and numerous firearms.

Authorities found Strain on a ranch on a Montana Native American reservation, The USA Today reports.

A self-proclaimed sovereign citizen, Strain refused to comply with government authorities, saying they had no jurisdiction over him. He made the same claim when he was taken into custody, according to court records.

After receiving a telephone tip, marshals found Strain at the Crow Reservation, where he “was basically squatting on the property,” according to an affidavit from Stephen Feuerstein, a detective assigned to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Sen. Schumer Calls on ATF to Help Investigate Dominican Republic Deaths

Chuck Schumer, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the ATF and CDC to help the FBI investigate the deaths of Americans in the Dominican Republic.

“With the spate of sicknesses & deaths of New Yorkers & Americans vacationing in the Dominican Republic,” Democrat from New York tweeted, “The federal government must double its efforts on getting to the bottom of things.”

At least nine Americans have died following similar symptoms while vacationing in the Dominican Republic since June 2018.

“ATF & more CDC experts should help the FBI with fact-finding. Now,” the Senate minority leader said.

The FBI is assisting the Dominican Republic with toxicological analysis.

Jury Convicts Reputed Gang Member in Shooting Death of ATF Agent in Chicago

Ernesto Godinez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A reputed gang member accused of shooting an ATF agent in Chicago last year has been convicted.

A federal jury found Ernesto Godinez guilty Monday in the death of the agent, who was killed when a bullet tore through his neck and exited between his eyes on May 4, 2018.

Godinez, 29, will be sentenced Sept. 19.

Police said the agent was placing a tracker on Godinez’s car when the reputed gang member ambushed the agent and opened fire. Prosecutors said Godinez, who was arrested three days later, believed he was shooting a rival gang member.

Surveillance cameras captured Godinez before and after the shooting.

Godinez’s attorney acknowledges his client was in the area the morning of the shooting, but insists Godinez was not involved in the shooting. The 12-member jury didn’t buy that.

Godinez faces up to 20 years in prison.

Theft of Thousands of Guns, Parts from ATF Facility Reveals Serious Problems at Agency

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF officials are being evasive about the theft of thousands of guns and firearm parts that were supposed to be destroyed.

Many of the guns had been seized by law enforcement, and others were retired service weapons from the ATF, FBI, DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies.

The weapons disappeared after being sent to the ATF’s National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch in Martinsburg, W.Va., where they were supposed to be destroyed.

The case has exposed the ATF’s failure to keep track of guns sent to the facility and detect when weapons are stolen. The agency has declined to publicly reveal the extent of the thefts, and ATF officials have been evasive when questioned by Congress.

One of the suspects in the thefts, Christopher Yates, a guard at the ATF facility, has admitted stealing thousands of firearms, gun parts and ammunition before selling them. The 52-year-old, a contract employee for the ATF for 16 years, pleaded guilty in federal court in April to stealing government property. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in August.

Yates managed to steal the guns and parts for years without the ATF knowing.

The ATF has failed to provide detailed information on the thefts to Congress, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In a March 28 letter to senators, then-Acting ATF Director Tom Brandon cited Yates’ open case as a reason for failing to provide more information.

“We cannot at this time characterize the scope of the thefts from the Martinsburg facility,” wrote Brandon, who retired in April.

Senators are pledging to get to the bottom of the case.

“The ATF is tasked with protecting our communities and the theft of a substantial amount of weapons, parts and ammunition from ATF facilities raises significant concerns,” Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., wrote in a statement to the Journal Sentinel. “Our committee is seeking a full accounting of this situation, and we hope the ATF will be as transparent as possible while we continue to pursue answers.”

Without a proper accounting of stolen guns, agents at each of the ATF’s 25 field offices have been assigned to search for stolen weapons. That search is taking resources away from fighting crime.

Reputed Gang Member Accused of Shooting ATF Agent Is on Trial

Ernesto Godinez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A trial is expected to begin today in the murder case of a reputed gang member accused of shooting an ATF agent in Chicago last year.

Prosecutors say Ernesto Godinez opened fire on the agent from an alley in the early morning hours of May, 4 2018, shooting him in the face, Fox 32 reports. Surveillance video spotted Godinez in the area shortly before the shooting.

The agent survived.

Prosecutors said Godinez, who was arrested three days later, believed he was shooting a rival gang member.

Godinez’s attorney acknowledges his client was in the area the morning of the shooting, but insists Godinez was not involved in the shooting.

A 12-person jury was selected Monday, and opening arguments are to begin Tuesday.

If convicted, Godinez could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison.

Trump Formally Nominates FOP’s Kenneth Canterbury to Head ATF

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury via Twitter.

President Trump’s pick to head the ATF, Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury, was formally nominated Wednesday.

Trump announced his pick last month, but the formal nomination means his name has been sent to the Senate for a vote.

Canterbury has served as the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police since 2003.

If approved, Canterbury will replace Thomas Brandon, who recently announced his retirement.