BREAKING: ATF Implicated in Cigarette Walker Scandal

Who wants a million cigarettes? (courtesy news-journal.com)

“Government agents acting without authorization conducted dozens of undercover investigations of illegal tobacco sales, misused some of $162 million in profits from the stings and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday.” Wow. I wonder what would have happened with the ATF’s Fast and Furious firearms “sting” if drug thugs hadn’t used ATF-enabled guns to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, putting a halt to Uncle Sam’s anti-gun-running gun-running investigation. “In one case, ATF agents sold $15 million in cigarettes and later turned over $4.9 million in profits from the sales to a confidential informant — even though the agency did not properly account for the transaction,” the AP reports . . .

The ATF’s newly-appointed director, B. Todd Jones, said the audit covered only selected, ‘historical’ ATF investigations between 2006 and 2011, and said the agency had tightened its internal guidelines since then.

It gets worse, of course . . .

Reviewing three-dozen ATF undercover cigarette stings between 2006 and 2011, the inspector general found that none of those income-generating probes had been given proper prior approval by an internal ATF review committee, as required by agency policy.

One of those sting operations did not have any approval, either from the ATF or the Justice Department. In that 2009 case, ATF officials allowed a tobacco distributor working as an ATF confidential informant to keep $4.9 million in profits from cigarette sales to criminal suspects. ATF officials justified the move by explaining the $4.9 million covered the informant’s expenses. But the inspector general said the agency failed to “require the informant to provide adequate documentation to support or justify those expenses.”

The remaining profits were used by agency officials to pay for a separate ATF cigarette smuggling sting — which the inspector general said violated ATF rules that profits from a “churning investigation” could only be used to fund that specific operation, not other cases.

The inspector general said shoddy documentation and inventory controls made it impossible to account for more than 2.1 million cartons of cigarettes — totaling 420 million cigarettes — during at least 20 separate ATF sting operations. The watchdog estimated the retail value of those items at $127 million.

Two thousand-plus guns allowed to walk (in a ten-month window) and 420 million cigarettes (during a five-month window). One wonders how many crates of whiskey went walkies? Regardless, it’s more evidence that it’s time to snuff out the ATF, metaphorically speaking. [h/t Don]

comments

  1. avatar Jay1987 says:

    These jackasses need to be disbanded in order to balance the budget.

  2. avatar gastorgrab says:

    Well, at least they only aided Hezbollah with the illegal tobacco products.

    We’re not at war with them ……….. yet.

  3. This isn’t shocking in the least bit. Here in Chicago, there’s a huge market for black market cigarettes because of the insane taxes. Each time these idiots raise the taxes on them, they get less revenue and more untaxed cigarettes flow into the system. If you smoke, why not look to buy a pack of smokes for $5 off this list price?

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130912/downtown/untaxed-cigarettes-targeted-by-cook-county

  4. avatar Cyrano says:

    At least nobody died from being shot by an illegally walked cigarette…. Oh wait. Were the guys who were carrying the illegally walked firearms also smokinging ILLEGAL cigarettes?!?! Time to have the ATF hang it up. It was a good run until they jumped the shark with walking contraband.

  5. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    “…later turned over $4.9 million in profits from the sales to a confidential informant…”

    Let me guess…the informant used every single dime of that money for charitable causes ! Yeah, right. None of it funneled its way back to the agents. Zero, zilch, nada….

    Pretty well known that the good old Italian Mafia owns the cigarette distribution in the East. Not the smuggling, the actual legal entities that distribute the cancer sticks. So you tell me that the ATF guys aren’t on the take?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I tell you no such thing. Common sense suggests otherwise.

      1. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

        Hope you understood that was an “rhetorical/editorial” YOU. Wasn’t directed at you…geeze I hate the internet 🙁

    2. avatar Mecha75 says:

      i’d rather it go to the agents instead of the U.S. Government. Atleast they would spend the money on important things like an iPhone over an Obamaphone or a new car over new F-16s for a militant muslim army that change Death to America everyday.

    3. avatar Andrew says:

      Breaking – agents seize 15 million in cash!

      The 10 million dollars was then securely deposited in a police vault. Final counting showed over 4.5 million has been seized from evil terrorists. Police Chief Wiggam says the 2.1 million dollars will be used “for the good of the community”. Police will likely donate all 567 thousand to a local little league team. After some minor expenses, the team will receive almost 58 thousand dollars.

  6. avatar Mark N. says:

    Idiots run amok. Time for the Congress to pull the plug on its LEO status. That would solve the problem of all of these misguided stings and put the ATF doing what it is supposed to, acting as an administrative agency, not a police agency. I have no doubt that there are many fine career officers–these stings smell of power-tripping political appointees who like to play at being cops.,

    1. avatar Mecha75 says:

      The BATFE originated with Elliot Ness and his so called “Untouchables” as well as the IRS agents who were partially responsible for creation of NASCAR. They were never created to be paper pushers, but armed tax collecting thugs of the federal government.

  7. avatar The Sleeper Has Awakened says:

    The regulation of Tobacco is a complete waste of Govt. resources.

    1. avatar Mecha75 says:

      apparently not since the BATFE has found a way to monetize it and turn a profit. Just like the CIA did with crack cocaine.

    2. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

      The regulation of almost everything regulated by the USG is a waste of recourses…

  8. avatar Don says:

    Fast and Fumaris!

    1. avatar Andrew says:

      They’re smokin’ the enemies of freedom!

      Carton’ them away in the paddywagon!

      packed in 20! To a cell…

      Grab your butts, its gonna get hot in here!

      /Nothing.

  9. avatar John S. says:

    I said this when the whole Gun-Walker/F&F thing came out and this just reinforces things. Shut down the ATF; Today, like now. The agency has been out of control for decades and it is getting worse.

    Give it all over to the DEA; boost their budget, transfer agents.
    Eliminate ALL of the leadership/front office positions and do NOT let those people back into any sort of federal law enforcement agency. You will cut waste, improve efficiency and lower cost overall. Ass it is it seems the DEA investigations seem to involve guns most of the times and the ATF investigations involve drugs. The two agencies seem redundant. Heck give the “T” part to DHS or something if you have to but its time for the ATF as we know it to be shut down for good.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      DEA is worse. They’re all a bunch of cowboyz.
      No offense to anyone in the cattle industry.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    So far the ATF has gone through gun walking and cigarette walking. What’s next — fire walking?

    1. avatar Fred says:

      Logic would dictate alcohol is next, since they screwed up with tobacco and firearms. I expect the next report to show “Thousands of gallons of Johnny Walker walked”, or “Johny Walker walking scandal, no one talking about the walking”.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        More like “Thousands of gallons of ‘shine turn up missing; confidential informant buys Central American country for retirement home.”

  11. avatar ensitue says:

    We are living in a nation whose Govt. ignores the rule of law

    1. avatar ed ranger says:

      While ignoring the law themselves, they are creating and enforcing more and more laws and regulations for the citizens , so it averages out I guess.

  12. avatar KCK says:

    “Stub out” would be more appropriate euphemism so that the ATF can’t acuse you of criminaly encouraging action by one who dislikes the ATF.
    Although Snuff is tobacco.

  13. avatar Cyrano says:

    corruptissima re publica plurimae leges:

    when the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous — Tacitus

    1. avatar ed ranger says:

      Excellent

  14. avatar KCK says:

    Heaven forbid they try in their next batch to catch some drunk Islamists trying to build IED’s.
    They still have the letters A and E to f*ck up.

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