The ATF has another failed gun operation on their hands. Undercover agents in Milwaukee, WI posed as store workers at a company called Fearless Distributing and ran “a storefront sting aimed at busting criminal operations in the city by purchasing drugs and guns from felons.”
The sting was filled with mistakes over the course of its 10 months. The operation ended after someone broke into the storefront and stole $35,000 in merchandise, including an ATF military-style machine gun that ended up on the city’s streets. No big time arrests were made, only low-level players were apprehended and charged with gun possession. In at least three cases, the police captured the wrong person. In one instance, police charged a man who was already in prison when the agents said he was selling drugs to them.
It gets worse for the ATF. Landlord David Salkin is suing the ATF for $15,000 from unpaid utility bills, holes in the walls, broken doors, and damage from an overflowing toilet. The ATF insist they do not owe the landlord anything and when Salkin tried to talk to them about the damage and unpaid bills, they warned him to cease communications.
“If you continue to contact the Agents after being so advised your contacts may be construed as harassment under the law,” wrote ATF attorney Patricia Cangemi. “Threats or harassment of a Federal Agent is of grave concern. Utilizing the telephone or a computer to perpetrate threats or harassment is also a serious matter.”
The sting points to lack of planning and oversight. Veterans of the ATF told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they have never seen operations run this way. They acknowledged operations would have problems, but never to this scale.
This operation mirrors Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF gun walking operation out of Phoenix, AZ that placed over 2,000 guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. These guns are linked to the deaths of 3,000+ Mexican citizens and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Hundreds are still missing and no one within the ATF or Department of Justice have been held accountable.
Like Fast and Furious, the federal authorities are keeping their lips sealed, claiming open court cases and they are still trying to find suspects.