Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Monday, February 4, 2013

More ATF Gunwalking... in Milwaukee??

David Salkin is a landlord with a storefront property in the Riverwest neighborhood in Milwaukee, WI. In 2012, he leased that storefront - unknowingly - to ATF agents who would then use it to buy and sell guns under the name "Fearless Distributing".

At least two guns - including one machine gun - are now on the streets.

Via Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
As the gun and drug buys continued, the operation went awry. In September, an agent parked his Ford Explorer at the Alterra on N. Humboldt Blvd., about a half mile away, with three ATF guns stored in a metal box in the back.

About 3 p.m. Sept. 13, an Alterra employee spotted three men breaking into the Explorer. They stole three guns: a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, a Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistol and an M-4 .223-caliber fully automatic rifle. They also made off with ammunition and an ATF radio, according to a police report. It does not appear from the reports that the agent was at Alterra at the time of the break-in.

A major push began to find the weapons and the men who stole them, police records show. Two men were quickly arrested. An informant told police one of the suspects was showing off the guns and eight magazines of ammunition shortly after the vehicle burglary, according to police records.

One of the suspects hid the machine gun under a bed and took the handguns with him. He was questioned by police and refused to talk. He was released. No one has been charged in the burglary of the ATF guns, according to Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Karen Loebel. She declined to say if charges would be coming.

The ATF soon had one of its stolen guns back, however.

The very next day, according to court documents, 19-year-old Marquise Jones contacted agents at Fearless Distributing and sold the Sig Sauer - and another unrelated handgun - back to agents.

The price: $1,400.

But Jones would not be arrested for two months. And when he was, it was not for the theft. His name does not appear on the police reports related to the vehicle break-in. He was charged with having a stolen gun.

Meanwhile, the hunt for the machine gun and the other stolen handgun continues.
Understandably a bit hypersensitive about ATF operations involving guns, two Congressmen and two Senators who are quite familiar with Operation Fast and Furious, have sent a letter to the acting Director of the ATF - B. Todd Jones - demanding answers to not only how the agency allowed guns to walk in Milwaukee but to a string of other bizarre breakdowns.

Attorney General Eric Holder was cc'd on the letter.

Check out some of these excerpts:
Although residents and  the landlord from whom ATF rented the storefront property did not know the true nature of the sham company Fearless Distributing, by March 2012 undercover ATF agents at the store were buying and selling guns. Using taxpayer dollars, these ATF agents paid $1250 for a gun that usually sells for $400 to $700. In fact, some suspects bought guns from stores and then re-sold them to undercover ATF agents at Fearless Distributing for a quick profit.
Note the consequence of the ATF operation; criminals enriched themselves at ATF (taxpayer) expense. This is made additionally more relevant when one considers the treatment received by the landlord from the ATF.

Again, via the letter to Jones:
In December 2012, the owner of the property where Fearless Distributing was located asked ATF to pay him $15,000 for damage to walls, doors and carpeting, including a month of lost rent and an overuse of utilities during Fearless Distributing's operation. According to the Journal Sentinel, despite the property owner having met with an ATF supervisor about the burglary and the supervisor assuring the landlord that "they would take care of everything," an ATF attorney reportedly used bully tactics, threatening the landlord with harassment of a federal official.
In this one operation, it's quite obvious that criminals benefited from the ATF's "Fearless Distributing" and the law-abiding landlord appears to be holding the short end of the stick.

Perhaps ATF should have called the store "Fearless Re-Distributing".

More on the story here.

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