ATF Death Watch 75: ATF-Enabled Indiana Guns Went to Chicago Gangs

 

I just got off the blower with Brent R. Weil [above] 0f Kightlinger and Gray, LLP. The Evansville, Indiana lawyer represents the [as yet unnamed] gun store that sold firearms to ATF-enabled straw purchasers. “The ATF told my client to let the sales go through,” Mr. Weil told TTAG. “He later told me that the guns went to Chicago gangs.” In one case, a straw purchaser failed to pass the FBI’s NICS [National Instant Check System] background check . . .

The dealer called an ATF agent in the parking lot; the agent told the dealer to let the sale go through. The ATF arrested the so-called straw purchaser after he walked out the door. In every other instance, however, the ATF did not apprehend the buyers immediately after purchase.

In one case, a buyer and his associate left the store and smashed their vehicle into a police car on their way out. (Seriously.) The driver was charged with the traffic incident, and the weapons were taken by the local police pending proof of ownership. The guns were never reclaimed.

Mr. Weil also threw some cold water on the theory that Mexican cartel members in Indiana purchased the guns with the ATF’s blessing as part of an anti-Los Zetas quid pro quo. “The buyers were black and caucasian,” Weil said. Also, the gun store in question initiated the contact with the ATF.

The new information doesn’t rule out the possibility that the Indiana gun store “sting” involved criminals affiliated with the Sinaloa or La Familia cartels (whom the ATF armed during Operation Fast and Furious). But that possibility seems a whole lot less likely.

Nonetheless, the Indiana intel reveals that the ATF was allowing known criminals to purchase firearms. The crucial question: did they lose track of the guns accidentally on purpose, as they did during Operation Fast and Furious?

And if the guns purchased in Evansville ended up in The Windy City, the ATF’s heir apparent—Chi-town Bureau Chief Andrew Traver—must have known about the policy. What did Andy know and when did he know it?

As Ralph points out below, we’re still left wondering about the scope, scale and final destination of all ATF-enabled firearms. How many vicious thugs bought firearms with the ATF’s help? How many of those were recovered and/or recovered from crime scenes?

Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that the Carson City killer used an ATF-enabled AK-47 during his murderous rampage. The attacker, Eduardo Sencion, was Mexican-born (with an American passport) with no criminal record.

There’s no firm evidence establishing linking Sencion with the ATF. The fact that anyone would even think of that possibility reveals the corrosive effect of the ATF on the public’s respect for the federal government and the primacy of the rule of law. It’s yet another reason to deep-six the ATF—after we find out what they’ve been doing with our tax money.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

39 Responses to ATF Death Watch 75: ATF-Enabled Indiana Guns Went to Chicago Gangs

  1. avatarRalph says:

    Attorney Weil told you that guns from his client’s store went to Chicago, where according to the ATF they were used in crimes. How many other guns from how many other stores were allowed to walk to other places? We’ll never know.

  2. avatartdiinva says:

    Hate to say I told you so but I told you that the ATF was enabling illegal firmarms sales to US purchasers. All these operations were about creating an anti-gun hysteria in the public so Obama could pass anti-Second Amendment legislation. I wonder how many of this past weekend’s shootings in NYC were committed with ATF or NYPD supplied guns

    • avatarMike says:

      OMG, stop the conspiracy theories. It was said before the 2008 election that Obama would attack gun “rights”. That has not happened – show me one piece of legislation planned, remember Dems had the house, senate and Presidency for two years.

      The stings with guns provided to criminals is a well known tactic and has probably been used before. There is risk, just like taking Bin Laden down was risky so is taking drug cartels.
      It isn`t like the criminals couldn`t get guns anywhere else, our cities are awash with them.

      • avatarJohn says:

        I’m looking forward to the T-shirts and bumper stickers.
        “Fast & Furious: Obama lied and people died” Turnabout is fair play.

        • avatarMike says:

          When did Obama lie? He probably didn`t know about it. Before you say he must know everything that happens Reagen didn`t know about Iran Contra – giving guns to our enemies. Not just a Democratic position!

        • avatarRalph says:

          Obama lies when he says “hello.” He wasted all his political capital when he crammed Obamacare down our throats, and when that battle was over he’d shot his legislative wad right along with his legislative majority. So he tried to end-run the legislative process through ATF regulations, and that battle is still being fought.

          As far as Iran-Contra is concerned, I never gave a crap about it and neither did anyone else. What I do care about is the ATF and the Joyce Foundation trying to steal my property, my constitutional rights and my means of self-defense.

        • avatarStu Strickler says:

          The Contras were NOT our enemy!

        • avatarOld Faithful Geyser says:

          Mike, to answer your first question, every time he opens his mouth.
          Now, as for your post preceding this one, it is happening NOW with all of this Fast & Furious BS, and with Hilliary going to the UN wanting them to have a say so in our gun rights. This administration is the most corrupt administration to ever hold the White House and it goes all down the line, the Czars, the Senate, the House, the AG’s office, the BATFE, his Judicial appointments, you name it, anything that he has anything to do with is tainted.

      • ” It was said before the 2008 election that Obama would attack gun “rights”. That has not happened – show me one piece of legislation planned, remember Dems had the house, senate and Presidency for two years.”

        Feb. 25, 2009
        The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today
        .

        To quote Darth Vader, “All too easy”.

        And when that plan didn’t work, it was on to Fast and Furious.

        I am the absolute LAST person to jump on to a conspiracy theory because I am a firm believer in Hanlon’s Law, namely “Never ascribe to malice what can be easily explained by stupidity”.

        One SAIC and a US attorney letting a dozen guns go across the border is stupid. Coordinating with the FBI to suppress NICS checks for straw purchasers in multiple cities and then failing to track those guns at all isn’t stupid, it’s criminal. That’s just the stuff we know about because of emails and testimony: What’s bubbling up under the surface is so scary I’m not sure if I want to face it.

        If it were a sting, were is/was the chain of evidence? If it was meant as a criminal investigation, where is the due diligence on tracking those guns once they left the U.S.? If it’s meant to go after straw purchasers here, why are they not being arrested?

        I would love, LOVE this to be just another government screwup, but the evidence ain’t there.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        Stings happen when you entice a bad guy to break the law at which point the cops move in and make an arrest. That is what the ATF did prior to January 20th 2009. Since then they have allowed guns to be transfered to their ultimate users. That is not a sting. If happens a few times then it’s just a screw up. If it happens again and again it’s a plan and if the ATF announces new regulations based on their own enabling of illegal firearms transactions then there is an intent. I am open to alternative explanations.

      • avatarRick says:

        http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/

        Hardly a theory Mike. Wake up dude

  3. avatarIndyEric says:

    Mr. Weil has been opposing counsel on several cases. He’s a smart guy and exceptional attorney. This should be interesting.

    • avatarRalph says:

      The ATF took his client off the hook, so I doubt that this case is going to be interesting. However, there’s a similar case in Houston being handled by Dick DeGuerin, who is a top defense lawyer. That one might get very interesting.

      What I can’t understand is why an FFL who is told to look the other way would actually do so without the requiring the ATF to put it in writing. If I were asked to commit a federal felony, I know that I would.

      • avatarIndyEric says:

        I just saw that.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          So many Death Watches, sometimes swapped at the last minute due to new information. Headline amended. Thanks for the heads-up.

      • Re: What I can’t understand is why an FFL who is told to look the other way would actually do so without the requiring the ATF to put it in writing. If I were asked to commit a federal felony, I know that I would..

        One of the guys in Texas did, and met with David Voth and Emory Hurley to that end. Hurley thanked him for his cooperation, but absolutely refused to provide a word in writing. This was a red flag, of course, but the dealer was already committed.

        My assumption is, that if the guy ceased to “cooperate,” the whims of DOJ higher-ups changed, or the case didn’t serve up real criminals, Hurley’s fallback position would have been to save the case and indict the dealer (as with DeGuerin’s client, who I understand — may be wrong — has a target letter but no indictment yet). Actually, this poor throg may have been DeGuerin’s client — I’m not sure.

        I think that if you are a licensee in this position, you can only refuse the very first request for cooperation that includes your committing any technical violation. Once you’ve committed one technical violation on behalf of the ATF, they own you. Of course, if you refuse them, they may destroy you just for their amusement.

        ATF has a long-standing, politically generated policy to force the closure of as many FFLs as possible. They celebrate the decline in the number of FFLs because it is one of their standing institutional objectives.

  4. avatarChris Dumm says:

    It astounds me that the media continue to describe Fast & Furious as a “Sting” operation. I’ve dealt with sting operations, and it’s only a sting *if you actually try to apprehend the criminal* after they take the bait.

    If an undercover cop met up with drug pushers, gave them commercial quantities of meth, coke and heroin *and then simply watched the pushers sell the drugs to passersby on the street* it wouldn’t be a sting anymore. It would just be a crooked cop selling drugs.

    And that’s what we’ve got here. Crooked cops giving guns to criminals.

    • avatarGreg in Allston says:

      Chris, I think that Gunrunner, F & F, Castaway and whatever else may be dug up in the future, goes well beyond simply crooked cops giving guns to criminals. I’m still not seeing the low on the food chain profit motive in all of this, if the crooked cops theory were valid at the retail level. However, the ideological motive and the timing, across the board, from the political appointees and their lieutenants, to the alphabet agencies and State, to the NSC and the Whitehouse, seems pretty clear to me. If that’s what I think that you mean. Sure, some, even many, of the players may have made some side money in all of this, and frankly I’d be pretty surprised if that didn’t happen when you’re talking about a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise, but first and foremost this all is politically and ideologically driven.

      Whatever it is, it’s history in the making and the timing for the ’12 elections is exquisite and epic.

      • avatarRalph says:

        On top of which the “street-level” ATF guys were the ones who tried to prevent the guns from walking, and it was the big-shots who ordered them to let the guns walk. And I don’t see any flow of cash from the street thugs to anyone except the gun stores where they bought the guns.

        There’s no “follow the money” in F&F. There’s just “follow the politics.”

        • avatarGreg in Allston says:

          Thanks Ralph. That’s exactly where I’m going with this. I think that the street level ATF guys were pretty much playing the deal straight down the middle and trying to do the righteous thing. I don’t think for a second, that at that time, they could have even imagined where this whole enterprise would lead. They were all just suckers getting played in a much, much bigger game.

        • There’s no “follow the money” in F&F. There’s just “follow the politics.”

          Some, if not all, of the money, came from FBI (and ATF perhaps?) who actually funded the purchase of some of the weapons through undercovers and CIs. That’s part of what’s under some of the redactions in the released documents.

          FBI has two sets of policies for dealing with CIs, the written one and the one they actually use. The written one says that can’t cover up a murder to protect a CI (as they did with Jimmy Hoffa) or finger cooperators for CIs to whack (as they did for Whitey Bulger) or supply guns to people who intend to kill people with them. In practice, they’ve done all these things.

  5. avatarCaroline says:

    Is Obama a front man for this group? Short video on the Weather Underground’s plans for America. Obama is a friend of William Ayers. He has been to the White House according to logs, and Obama also started his Senate career in his home.

  6. avatarDonWorsham says:

    What is a “blower”?

    • avatarRalph says:

      “Blower” is slang for the telephone. Probably from the twenties or thirties, when slang was more colorful and less profane than today. Think “gat,” “roscoe” and “mohaska” as some examples of really cool gun slang.

  7. avatarTexan says:

    I’m wondering why LOTS of firearm dealers are not crawling out of the woodwork with similar reports – and also (ideally) emails, recorded conversations (you can bet I would have the recorder running if I was being told to sell a gun to a felon), etc.

    Surely, the gun dealers have no love for the ATF – I would think this open season would have the dealers lining up to tell their stories… Not to mention a possible book, appearances on TV, fame, fortune, etc.

    • avatarGreg in Allston says:

      Even at this point in the game I think that many of the folks involved, even if just tangentially, are only now beginning to get the drift of where this was all leading to. I expect that many more civilian revelations will be coming to the fore in the very near future. We’re just now coming close to anything near critical mass in all of this. Many more shoes are going to drop, many more players are going to turn state’s evidence. The next two Issa hearings, I suspect, are going to be blockbusters. From there the slope of the curve and the acceleration will be in nose bleed territory.

  8. avatarBrad Kozak says:

    Okay. Let’s see if we can connect a few more dots:

    ATF allows guns to go a-walkin’ across the Mexico border. Then tells Congress about a River of Guns and the need for more ATF funding.

    Next, we learn that the ATF has done the same trick in Indiana. The guns show up in Chicago, which happens to be the hometown of newly-elected mayor/former WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. And the home of former mayor Richey Dailey – both of whom are rabidly anti-gun. Crime goes up, and they attribute this to straw man purchases, giving them cover to craft more restrictive gun laws (and keep those pesky gun ranges out of the city).

    Okay. who’s with me – I’m bettin’ we’re about to uncover either some more ATF Fast n’ Furious-style shenanigans in someplace within driving distance to either D.C. or NYC, so they can justify beefing up the anti gun laws there.

    I’m just in awe of the stupidity there. Do they not get we see what’s going on? Do they not understand WE understand, and aren’t buying their bullshit? GEEZ…

  9. avatarStu Strickler says:

    No matter what becomes of this, this administratrion is NOT going to be able to disarm citizens! There are simply way to many of us that will not allow that to happen!I believe those who think they are *in control*, would just love to stir up enough crap to try something real stupid!
    75 percent of the citizens in this country are smart enough to understand what the 2nd Amendment says. The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights are still the law of the land. This I shall defend!

  10. avatarBob says:

    More subterfuge. As usual the brass throws everybody in a trick from the actual street working heart of the operation agents to your grandmother when one of these maggots catches her walking in the fron door, key in hand at about dark with his “let ‘em Roll ATF special….Oh well…it’s not that mportant to them cause it’s just you or yours.; not Charlie Schumer of anyone named Pelosi…..GOD forbod someone else would get after a Kennedy with something as crude as a firearm.
    After 30 years in law enforcement ( come November) I can assure you the jerks running the game are not the ones who are planned to bite the t_urd when TSHTF on this and Father Defaggio from up on Wabash Aveue gets whacked by a hip-hopper with a “gat” and a ‘tude. Again it will be the puiblic9 who are trained that “guns are bad M’KAY? “and NOT the political tapeworms who think these filthy shenanigans up. They will as in Waco, Ruby Ridge et al play the Reno-esque bosses who left them a aper trail to covber their asses then the oversight by those wjho should OVERSEE will stop before the Obamas. Holder, Renos ( is she still twitching in such an amusing way?) and other poltyical trash. Lock and load America. It’s much much later than you think….If you have to ask now….there’s no point in knowing the answer as you all know.

  11. avatarBob says:

    Why can I not edit my own comment” It’s called typos…..Hmmm?

  12. avatarSteve Denton says:

    It has been two days since the Carson City shooting spree. The MSM has reported the shooter used an AK47 and had two guns in the van he drove. What the Media has not said is where he was able to acquire these guns. In fact, Diane Sawyer last night actually stated that the shooter used a “rifle” she did not say he used an assault rifle. If these weapons where from Fast and Furious or some other “sting” operation those individuals involved are just a guilty!

  13. avatarGhostwriter says:

    “Explain this to me as if I’m the dumbest person in the room.’

    The problem as I perceive to be is that some people still hold to obviously erroneous and inherently foolish notions about right and wrong, and that any laws are actually applicable to any person but those whom law enforcers in government selectively choose to apply them to. However, as is the case with any general rule there are exceptions.
    In special circumstances certain law enforcers will take it upon themselves to apply some law or another to other people in government—most notably those actually trying to perform the function they believe they’re hired to do and those attempting to expose others in government for the frauds and criminals they actually are.
    The most delusional among the masses are still bitterly clinging to the arcane philosophy and now provably unworkable idea of a “Constitutional Republic”.
    In its current condition, the U.S. is essentially an evolved and opulent Monarchy owned and operated primarily by the Federal Reserve Bank and being rapidly morphed into Socialism/Fascism.
    Barring the potential for a change in course occurring as a result of meteoric impact, pole reversal, reentry into our local Sol-Star system of Planet X, extraterrestrial invasion or Nuclear, Biological or Chemical terrorism, the U.S. will continue to be devolved into the status of a classic Banana-republic as part of the Union of the Americas Agenda. ( which btw requires Federal Registration of all Firearms and their owners with the intent to eventually ban civilian ownership of most all types of firearms…in stages of course.)
    Collusion among the hierarchy in the various alphabet agencies involved in the arming of criminals merely revelatory as part of the overall Agenda.
    Balance is projected to finally be achieved when America most closely resembles a combination of Baghdad, Bogotá, China and certain areas in the Congo.

    “Evil is an absence of Conscience, Hell a place devoid of all Reason.”
    Gw

  14. avatarNCBob says:

    The guns going to Chicago are used by gang-bangers to kill other gang-bangers. Chicago politicians have always hated blacks and this gun traffic serves the politicians secret interests. Of course they knew about it!

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