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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sting Operation Uncovers Illegal Firearms
230 Weapons Seized, Agents Say
http://www.koat.com/news/23926093/detail.html


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The U.S. attorney's office announced Wednesday that nearly two dozen New Mexicans have been arrested for illegal firearms and drug trafficking in a second massive undercover sting in a week.

From small firearms to massive machine guns, investigators cracked down on illegal firearms in a sting led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Special Agent William Newell said the suspects sold stolen guns to undercover agents. Some of the weapons have scratched-off serial numbers.

"We're talking about 230 guns that we took of the streets of convicted felons, drug abusers," said Newell. "Stolen firearms that will get back to their rightful owners."

Investigators said those weapons will be entered into a computer database to see if they are a part of other ongoing criminal investigations.

Investigators said the sting started with a simple storefront shop.

Officials said they called the "Jokerz Traders" and people came in selling their merchandise.
"Word gets out that we're looking to buy certain items," said Newell. "In this case it was the firearms, then individuals start frequenting the store."

Newell couldn't go into detail about the actual sting, but said 25 people now have indictments and are facing multiple charges. Officials said of the 25 people with charges, 22 were arrested Wednesday morning. They are still looking for the other three.

Officials said this is only the tip of the iceberg.

"This, we believe, is going to make a difference," said a representative from the U.S. attorney's office. "How much of a difference, we're going to have and wait and see."
 

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Diamond Bullet Member and the Revered Sir Jim
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"massive machine guns", what the heck is this all about? Like there are petit machine guns?
 

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Now when will Bernalillo County get the MDC sorted out?
 

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"massive machine guns", what the heck is this all about? Like there are petit machine guns?
They're equipped with the cop-killer bullets and the 50 rounds CLIPS.
 

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So when they were buying the firearms with defaced serial #s were they not breaking the law ? I am all for getting the guns away from the bad guys, but....
Believe it or not (or agree it ought to be OK or not), the cops, as part of an investigation ARE allowed to do things that would be illegal for thee or me. Buy dope. Deliver dope. Buy Class 3 guns with no paper. Buy (and possess) guns with defaced, removed or altered S/Ns. Knowingly buy stolen firearms or other stolen property. All sorts of things.
 

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It would be interesting to know the whole story, though. I understand about agents being able to break laws, but I wonder if they encouraged any of it. The weapons charge against Randy Weaver was based on a sawed off shotgun that was originally sold to an agent with a legal length barrel. They gave it back and asked him to cut another 1/4 inch or so. I personally have no problem with law enforcement, Feds or local, recovering stolen property or getting it out of the wrong hands. I doubt that they will go too far out of their way to find the owners of any of this stuff, maybe what they can trace.
 

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It would be interesting to know the whole story, though. I understand about agents being able to break laws, but I wonder if they encouraged any of it. The weapons charge against Randy Weaver was based on a sawed off shotgun that was originally sold to an agent with a legal length barrel. They gave it back and asked him to cut another 1/4 inch or so. I personally have no problem with law enforcement, Feds or local, recovering stolen property or getting it out of the wrong hands. I doubt that they will go too far out of their way to find the owners of any of this stuff, maybe what they can trace.
It's one thing if a criminal offers to sell an illegal weapon to the narks; but quite another, if they encourage him to break the law. The BATFE agents harassed Randy Weaver until he hack sawed the barrels and buttstocks off of two cheap single shot shotguns. They offered not to prosecute if Weaver volunteered to infiltrate the Aryian Nations church in Idaho. "He can go to jail or risk being murdered if caught as a spy."

Our local police agencies set up a chop shop and purchased dozens of stolen cars from the thieves. About 30 criminals were arrested in a round up about six months later.
 

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The quad-50 was too big to get into the building or a camera frame...
Alden
Knowing the press - if one was there, they would have had a picture of it somehow. Or if they could find a picture of one somewhere, they would have used it.
 

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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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What got me is the feds saying they were "interested in buying weapons" So how many burglaries resulted from that???
Two sorts of encouragement that the cops use. One is to set up a buying operation and put out the word: "We want to buy guns. No questions asked." Or dope or whatever. They then take note of who brings in what, and at some point collect the folks who sold stolen/altered/whatever. This is - distasteful but legal. Offering someone with a propensity to commit an offense an opportunity is NOT entrapment.

The other kind of encouragement IS entrapment and involves applying pressure or inducement that would cause someone who did NOT have a propensity to commit an offense to overcome his disinclination to break the law. Example would be to advertise that you were looking for people to do honest work. When somebody shows up to apply, you ave them fill out the app and then let them know that if they REALLY want the job, you need them to get a little dope. That happened here and I got one of the victims of the scam to defend. I also got an entrapment instruction and the jury acquitted.

This operation is an example of the first sort of :inducement" - you just offer people who have a propensity to commit crimes already a place to get caught.

Randy Weaver was an example of the second kind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update!

25 Charged, 230 Guns Seized in Sting: ATF Operated ?Thrift Store'

ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, N.M. | MIKE GALLAGHER | Thu, Jun 17, 3:10 PM
http://dailyme.com/story/2010061700002732/25-charged-230-guns-seized-sting-.html

Jun. 17--Federal and state agents charged 25 people and seized more than 230 firearms in a year-long undercover sting operation unveiled Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales.

For the past year, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operated a thrift shop called "Jokerz Traderz" at 1309 San Mateo NE in Albuquerque.

The shop operated as a normal thrift store using merchandise donated by Target Corp.

The undercover agents operating the store purchased the firearms -- including a machine gun, 37 stolen weapons and 15 with obliterated serial numbers -- from 25 men and women, including 13 with felony convictions.

Three cases have been referred to District Attorney Kari Brandenburg's office for prosecution.

"They came to us," said Bill Newell, special agent in charge of the ATF offices in Arizona and New Mexico. "They sought us out to sell these weapons."

"This was an effort by a small office to remove guns used by violent criminals from the streets," he said.

Newell and Gonzales said the ATF will trace and test the weapons to determine whether they were used in violent crimes.

Stolen weapons will be returned to their owners after the court cases have been completed.

Gonzales said, "This investigation was aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of those people who cannot legally possess them and at removing illegal guns from our streets. These problems don't go away overnight."

Most of those charged face a few charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, while some are also charged with selling various types of drugs.

But Guillermo "Moreno" Medel, 28, was charged with 11 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and one count of possessing a machine gun.

Medel was convicted in state District Court in Bernalillo County of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance in a plea agreement stemming from a 2006 case. He was originally charged with kidnapping and armed robbery with a deadly weapon.

The federal indictment charges Medel with possession of a Romanian model, fully automatic AK-47.

Gonzales praised the teamwork of area law enforcement agencies in the operation and Wednesday's arrests including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.
 
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