Those poor guys at the ATF can’t catch a break. Now they have to answer to members of Congress for recent ‘storefront’ operations.
Letter from Congress calls ATF sting tactics ‘almost unimaginable’
Calling the ATF’s tactics appalling, alarming, disturbing and “almost unimaginable,” congressional members on Thursday slammed the agency for how it conducted storefront stings across the nation and renewed their demand for answers.
The Journal Sentinel found that the ATF used mentally disabled individuals to promote their operations in at least five cities — including paying one to get a tattoo on his neck advertising their storefront — and later had them charged with gun and drug crimes. The tattoo was of a giant squid smoking a joint.
In Milwaukee, three guns belonging to the case’s lead undercover agent, including a machine gun, were stolen. The machine gun remains missing.
Across the country, agents put stings near schools and churches, increasing arrest numbers and penalties — and attracting juveniles with free video games and alcohol. They paid so much for guns and other goods that in some cities it encouraged burglaries. In some cases, defendants bought guns at stores such as Gander Mountain and sold them to undercover agents hours later for more than double what they paid.
“In all of these cases, ATF apparently wasted taxpayer dollars on purchases,” the lawmakers wrote, citing two examples detailed in the Journal Sentinel’s reporting, including one where a defendant bought a gun at the store for $700 and sold it to undercover agents hours later for $2,000.
Of course, the newspaper’s only reporting on the stuff they found out about. Who knows what’s been swept under the carpet?