Watchdog: Accountability

Newspaper says ATF used botched storefront stings to net guns, criminals

By |
Crime,Watchdog,Michal Conger,Fast and Furious,Accountability,Justice Department,Firearms

Fake storefronts set up by federal agents to catch criminals selling guns and drugs have netted a wide array of bad guys, but left a longer list of problems in their wake, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The agents worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the same Department of Justice agency that ran the botched Fast and Furious gun-running operation into Mexico.

At storefronts posing as pawn and smoke shops, agents purchased guns and drugs, created a market for stolen goods and weapons, let felons walk out of the stores armed, recruited mentally disabled people allegedly to help find guns, and damaged the properties they rented, according to the Journal Sentinel.

In several cases, the mentally disabled people recruited by the agents were later arrested. ATF also worked with multiple felons, who were allowed to buy and sell guns or drugs.

ATF told the Journal Sentinel in January that problems with one such storefront in Milwaukee were an isolated incident, but a closer look at court documents, police reports and witness interviews by the newspaper uncovered similar abuses across the country.

Experts told the Journal Sentinel the setup of the stings created crime instead of focusing on existing high-level criminals.

Read the full story here.

View article comments Leave a comment