Journal-Sentinel reports on the unraveling of an ATF sting
operation in Milwaukee that resulted in no high-profile arrests,
angry neighbors, and a trashed warehouse. Undercover agents bought
drugs, weapons, and stolen goods at a rented warehouse last
year—until robbers made off with the inventory.From the Journal-Sentinel:
The effort to date has not snared any major dealers or taken
down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and
failures, including an ATF military-style machine gun landing on
the streets of Milwaukee and the agency having $35,000 in
merchandise stolen from its store….
When the 10-month operation was shut down after the burglary,
agents and Milwaukee police officers who participated in the sting
cleared out the store but left behind a sensitive document that
listed names, vehicles and phone numbers of undercover agents.
And the agency remains locked in a battle with the building’s
owner, who says he is owed about $15,000 because of utility bills,
holes in the walls, broken doors and damage from an overflowing
The sting resulted in charges being filed against about 30
people, most for low-level drug sales and gun possession counts.
But agents had the wrong person in at least three cases. In one,
they charged a man who was in prison—as a result of an earlier ATF
case—at the time agents said he was selling drugs to them.
Most of those charged live elsewhere in the city, and residents
are angry that the ATF purposely lured a criminal element into the
neighborhood.The whole article is
here. Be sure to click through the accompanying documents,
which include a grammatically challenged email
from an ATF lawyer threatening the landlord for having the gall to
contact agents “utilizing a telephone or computer,” which “may be
construed as harassment under the law.”