ATF Sting Gone Wrong, Machine Gun & Handgun Stolen, Then Sold Back To Agents, Building Damaged
The BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, aka the ATF) has taken its fair share of heat recently over operation Fast and Furious in which the agency allowed semi automatic rifles to be sold to Mexican drug cartels. One of those weapons was used to kill an America Border Patrol Agent.
Now the ATF is taking more heat over a series of botches during a long term Milwaukee sting meant to get high profile drug and weapons dealers off the street.
What actually happened was far from that.
JSOnline reports the following series of events.
- Agents rent a large retail space in Milwaukee that sells clothing, bongs and other similar items.
- The agents running the store let it be known they were willing to buy, sell or trade drugs and weapons
- The agents made a few low level drug and weapons busts by paying outrageous prices for guns
- Some suspects legally bought guns at nearby gun stores and sold them for 3x their value to agents.
- A full automatic M4 rifle and two handguns were left in an agency vehicle near the store. These items were stolen from the vehicle.
- One of the stolen handguns gets sold back to the agents for nearly double its value. The person who stole and sold the agents was not connected to the incident for months.
- The store is burglarized and the thieves make off with thousands of dollars in merchandise (presumably bought with taxpayer money)
- After the store is robbed, the operation is shut down.
- The property owner said he knew nothing of the operation and that the ATF ran up huge utility bills which he is now responsible for, damaged the walls/doorways of the building, allowed a toilet to flood damaging floors and caused other damage.
- The property owner says he is owed over $15,000 in utilities and damages. When he tried to collect from the ATF he was told to stop contacting them or he could be arrested for trespassing.
- Residents in the area, who have made a huge push to revitalize the area in recent years and reduce crime are outraged that the ATF was encouraging drug users, drug dealers and weapons dealers to frequent their neighborhood when they had made much progress to stop these activities.
According to JSOnline, the ATF losing weapons under their control isn’t anything new. In a five-year span from 2002-’07, for example, 76 ATF weapons were stolen, lost or missing, according to the report. That’s nearly double the number compared with the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, when considering rates per 1,000 agents.
Many of the arrests made during the sting were botched due to incorrectly identified suspects and mishandled evidence.
Read the comprehensive report at JSOnline