The new van is equipped with state-of-the-art forensic equipment to examine the markings left behind on casings expelled from fired guns, which can be matched to a database of crime-scene casings. It will travel to places where law enforcement might not have the resources to analyze ballistic evidence.
The inspector general investigation was launched after the Journal Sentinel uncovered failures in a 2012 ATF storefront operation in Milwaukee and others nationwide, including agents using people with developmental disabilities to promote the project. Agents then arrested those individuals at the end of the sting.
Actually, calling it a “system” is a stretch. Political pressure applied by the gun lobby forces the agency to trace guns without using computers. “We ain’t got a registration system,” says an ATF agent forced to work like a Luddite. “Ain’t nobody registering no damn guns.”
The arrest and conviction of Dennis Hardee, of Philadelphia, was nothing unusual in the annals of America's Drug War. In 2013, he was convicted of taking part in a conspiracy to rob a cocaine stash house and then sell the proceeds. As it happened, there was also nothing unusual in the fact that both the stash house and the drugs were invented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)—a common tactic aimed at going after violent predators […]
The drugs were not real. The sentence was. Emanuel Gerardo Cota-Ruiz, a 36-year-old Mexican immigrant living in Arizona, was sentenced in 2013 to ten years in prison for conspiring to rob a cocaine stash house. Cota-Ruiz had no previous criminal history. He installed drywall. But, as his lawyer explained in court, he was unemployed and desperately searching for money to buy food, clothes and school supplies for his children when he was introduced to someone who described himself as a […]