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Tag: ATF

Man Charged in 2010 Murder of Border Patrol Agent Terry to Be Extradited to U.S.

Brian Terry

Brian Terry

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 38-year-old man convicted in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry may soon end up in an American prison.

The Mexican government began the extradition process of Heraclio “Laco” Osorio-Arellanes, who was arrested Wednesday in the state of Chihuahua on a provisional arrested warrant by the U.S., the Arizona Republic reports. 

The Republic reports:

Osorio-Arellanes is the sixth of seven defendants taken into custody in connection with the killing of Terry, 40, in a nighttime gunbattle on Dec. 14, 2010,  in a remote canyon near Rio Rico in Santa Cruz County, about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The gunbattle took place between Border Patrol agents who included Terry and a Mexican “rip crew” — criminal gangs that hide in the desert on the U.S. side of the border to rip off smugglers transporting drugs or migrants into the United States from Mexico.

Terry’s death touched off a major political controversy after it was revealed that two guns recovered after the Arizona shootout were linked to “Operation Fast and Furious,” a botched federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gun-trafficking probe that lost track of hundreds of weapons.

The so-called “gun-walking” scandal resulted in the 2011 resignation of U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2012 voted to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over a dispute concerning “Fast and Furious”-related documents.

ATF: Law Enforcement Officers Increasingly Buying Guns, Illegally Selling Them to Public

File photo of guns, via ATF

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is warning police departments that federal law enforcement officers are increasingly buying and illegally reselling unlicensed guns, which often are ending up in the hands of criminals.

The agency called the scheme an “emerging problem” that is adding to the flood of illegal firearms in the country the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. 

Among the guns sold on the black market are “off-roster” guns that only can be purchased by law enforcement.

“Recently, ATF has discovered that some law enforcement officers who do not have a (Federal Firearms License) are purchasing ‘off roster’ firearms and reselling those firearms to non-law enforcement entities for a profit,” Special Agent in Charge of the ATF in Los Angeles Eric D. Harden wrote in an advisory.

Some of the guns are surfacing at crime scenes.

“In some instances, ATF has discovered officers who purchased more than 100 ‘off roster’ firearms that were subsequently transferred to non-law enforcement individuals,” Harden continued. “Such transactions potentially constitute violations of federal firearms laws, to include dealing firearms without a FFL, and lying on a federal firearms form when purchasing said firearm — also known as ‘straw purchasing.’ ”

ATF Agents Use Off-the-Books Bank Accounts for Inappropriate Purchases

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF agents dipped into an off-the-books bank account for personal trips and other inappropriate expenses.

The New York Times found that agents used the money to take a trip to Las Vegas and rent a $21,000 suite at a Nascar race. One agent even used the money to donate to the school of one of his or her children. 

The private bank account also was tapped to finance undercover operations, possibly violating laws prohibiting government officials from subsidizing their budgets with private money.

The Times wrote:

The revelations highlight the lax oversight at the A.T.F. that allowed agents and informants to spend millions while avoiding the normal accounting process. The Justice Department’s inspector general, who is investigating the secret account, criticized the A.T.F. recently for mismanagement and said the agency did not know how many informants it had or how much they were paid.

The New York Times revealed the existence of the bank account in February, prompting an investigation by the House oversight committee. The Justice Department, which oversees the A.T.F., has denied any wrongdoing, and the department has refused to say whether the bureau continues to operate such secret accounts, which the government called “management accounts.”

The A.T.F. has also refused to say who authorized the account, which was created by agents based in Bristol, Va., who were investigating tobacco smuggling. One government official said the bureau regarded the account as a hybrid of government funds and private money, a combination that is not authorized under federal law. Ryan Kaye, an A.T.F. supervisor, is quoted in public court documents as saying the agents received “verbal directives” from unidentified officials at headquarters to open the account.

New ATF Chief in Chicago Focuses on Fighting Gun Violence

Celinez Nunez, special agent in charge of the ATF’s Chicago office.

Celinez Nunez, special agent in charge of the ATF’s Chicago office.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Celinez Nunez may have one of the more challenging law-enforcement positions in the nation.

The 41-year-old woman recently was named the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Chicago office at a time when the city is struggling to curtail a rising number of murders, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. 

In 2016, more than 760 people were killed, marking the highest murder rate in Chicago in decades. 

President Trump has claimed Chicago has done an inadequate job handling murders. According to sources, dozens of ATF agents are likely to be added to the ATF office to fight gun violence.

Nunez said she plans to meet with the acting U.S. attorney to discuss how to increase prosecutions of murderers.

“I am going to look at the cases my agents are putting together, too, to make sure they’re meeting the requirements of the U.S. attorney’s office,” she said. “I will make sure my agents are working solid cases so that when they take it to the U.S. attorney’s office for prosecution, they should not be turned down.”

Other Stories of Interest

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.”