ATF Bungling in Milwaukee

If one’s wondering how his or her taxdollars are spent on ATF operations in Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel has that answer, in a story that reads like a parody of policing. (The title, ATF’s Milwaukee sting operation marred by mistakes, failures, is mild when one considers the string of federal mistakes.

The concept: “They were undercover agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives running a storefront sting aimed at busting criminal operations in the city by purchasing drugs and guns from felons.”

Executive summary of government failure: “But 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, a Journal Sentinel investigation has found.”

Leaked information: “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.”

Stiffing private business people: “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 toilet.”

Fingering the wrong suspects, repeatedly: “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.”

See, ATF’s Milwaukee sting operation marred by mistakes, failures for a full, nearly 100-paragraph expos√©.

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