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Tag: Sting

Jury: ATF Entrapped Low IQ Defendant by Encouraging Him to Break Law

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man with a second-grade reading level and a low IQ was acquitted in an ATF sting operation because he was entrapped, a jury decided.

The jury acquitted Alexis Davis on two counts agreeing that the ATF entrapped the man by “pressing” him to break the law.

Had the ATF not encouraged Davis to break the law, he likely wouldn’t have, his attorney argued.

“He never would have possessed the guns if they hadn’t come up with that store,” attorney Sharon Samek said.

To the jury, it was a clear case of entrapment.

“To me, this was not about fighting crime,” said juror Michael Lehman of St. Petersburg Beach. “There is a lot of crime going on in the world, you don’t need to manipulate the circumstances in order to encourage people to do bad things that they might or might not otherwise do.”

USA Today Investigation: ATF Drug Stings Targeted Minorities

By Brad Heath
USA Today
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.

At least 91% of the people agents have locked up using those stings were racial or ethnic minorities, USA TODAY found after reviewing court files and prison records from across the United States. Nearly all were either black or Hispanic. That rate is far higher than among people arrested for big-city violent crimes, or for other federal robbery, drug and gun offenses.

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FBI Arrests Four Americans Following Fake Sex-Slave Auction in Arizona

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has arrested four American men after setting up a sting featuring a fake sex-slave auction in Arizona, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Agents set up the sting after the men expressed an interest in buying sex slaves through an online Malaysian slave trading organization that the FBI had been investigating.

Undercover agents set up a fictitious auction.

“We came to realize that there was a portion of the human-trafficking threat that we were underappreciating,” said George  Steuer, supervisory special agent in the Phoenix FBI office. “We realized that there was this group of individuals in the U.S. who were interested in owning a human slave both for sexual exploitation and domestic labor.”

But defense lawyers say the FBI went too far.

“I thought I’d heard of everything until I got this case,” said George Klink, a Phoenix attorney who represents one of the men. “It’s an awful waste of resources.”

FBI Rushed Trenton Mayor Mack Investigation Because of Suspicions from Inner Circle

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI rushed its investigation into Trenton Mayor Tony Mack because agents were worried the administration knew about the probe, the Trenton Times reports

A city carpet salesman, who was Mack’s fraternity brother, warned the mayor of an investigation, prompting the FBI to scurry for search warrants. 

“We needed to execute immediately because we believed we were compromised in the investigation,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Mike Doyle said.

Mack and his brother are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for fast-tracking the sale of property to build a garage, which actually was an FBI sting operation.

California Lawmaker Says FBI Tried to Get Him to Rat Out Two Top Democrats

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A California lawmaker says the FBI raided his office because he refused to rat out two of the state’s top Democrats, NBC News reports.

State Sen. Ronald Calderon, D-Montebello, filed a federal complaint, saying agents asked him to “sting” Sen. Darrell Steinberg, leader of the state Senate’s Democratic majority and Sen. Kevin de Leon.

Calderon also is asking for a judge to hold federal investigators in contempt for leaking details of the investigation. He’s accused of accepting more than $60,000 from undercover agents in exchange for supporting legislation, NBC reported.

During a June 2012 meeting with an undercover agent, Steinberg allegedly said, “I told you man, anything you can do, any help you could do for my kids is, you know – that’s diamonds for me. That’s diamonds.”

 

ATF’s Undercover Hit Men Cause Big Problems for Would-Be Criminals

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Angry at a cheating spouse or jerk boss?

While most of us would handle our issues without violence, others look for “hit men” for payback.

Enter undercover ATF agents, who bust people who pay to have someone killed or injured, GQ reports.

Reporter Jeanne Marie Laskas tagged along with one agent, who took orders to cut up a man’s ex-girlfriend’s face. As the agent appears to go along with the plan, feds swoop in and bust the customer.

Weekend Series on Crime History: FBI’s Abscam Sting and Congressman John Murtha

Prosecutors Allow Defendants to Walk Because of Botched Drug, Gun Case in Milwaukee

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF’s botched sting in Milwaukee last year continues to unravel as the depth of the feds’ mistakes become better known.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported prosecutors have dropped charges against another three defendants charged in an undercover ATF sting.

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Karen Loebel said the three cases were dismissed to protect informants who set up the drug and gun deals.

The litany of mistakes continues to grow: Agents used a brain-damaged man to set up the deals. Government-owned guns were stolen from the undercover store front, and a total of $40,000 in merchandise has gone missing, the Journal Sentinel reported.