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Federal agents hunt for guns, one house at a time

Discussion in 'Legal' started by gmark340, Jul 1, 2009.

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  1. gmark340

    gmark340 Well-Known Member

    Somewhat misleading in that the article doesn't mention the large percentage of firearms that are not submitted to the US for tracing, or the large percentage that are stolen from the Mexican military and police. However, the bigger question, to me, anyway, is what power do the Feds have to show up at your house to ask to see your guns? If the homeowner says "I don't care to speak with you. Come back with warrant." would that send them on their way?


    Federal agents hunt for guns, one house at a time
    By DANE SCHILLER Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
    June 30, 2009, 9:36PM
    Share Print Share Del.icio.usDiggTwitterYahoo! BuzzFacebookStumbleUponIn front of a run-down shack in north Houston, federal agents step from a government sedan into 102-degree heat and face a critical question: How can the woman living here buy four high-end handguns in one day?

    The house is worth $35,000. A screen dangles by a wall-unit air conditioner. Porch swing slats are smashed, the smattering of grass is flattened by cars and burned yellow by sun.

    “I’ll do the talking on this one,” agent Tim Sloan, of South Carolina, told partner Brian Tumiel, of New York.

    Success on the front lines of a government blitz on gunrunners supplying Mexican drug cartels with Houston weaponry hinges on logging heavy miles and knocking on countless doors. Dozens of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — sent here from around the country — are needed to follow what ATF acting director Kenneth Melson described as a “massive number of investigative leads.”

    All told, Mexican officials in 2008 asked federal agents to trace the origins of more than 7,500 firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Most of them were traced back to Texas, California and Arizona.

    Among other things, the agents are combing neighborhoods and asking people about suspicious purchases as well as seeking explanations as to how their guns ended up used in murders, kidnappings and other crimes in Mexico.

    “Ever turning up the heat on cartels, our law enforcement and military partners in the government of Mexico have been working more closely with the ATF by sharing information and intelligence,” Melson said Tuesday during a firearms-trafficking summit in New Mexico.

    Firearms dealers visited
    The ATF recently dispatched 100 veteran agents to its Houston division, which reaches to the border.

    The mission is especially challenging because, officials say, that while Houston is the number one point of origin for weapons traced back to the United States from Mexico, the government can’t compile databases on gun owners under federal law.

    Agents instead review firearms dealers’ records in person.

    People who are legally in the United States and have clean criminal records, but are facing economic problems are often recruited by traffickers to buy weapons on their behalf in order to shield themselves from scrutiny.

    Knocks at the door of the shack that looked to be the definition of hard times went unanswered.

    “I am out of here,” Sloan said a few moments later, as a pit bull lazily sauntered from the back yard. “I don’t like pit bulls walking up behind me.”

    Best information source
    On second thought, Sloan switched to Spanish and interviewed a neighbor.

    The neighbor said the woman left a month ago after a fight with her husband or boyfriend, who still lived there with what she called “other degenerates.”

    “An angry ex-girlfriend or wife is the best person in the world, the greatest source of information,” Sloan said.

    The night before, the duo were in a stakeout where they watched a weapons sale.

    They also combined efforts with the Drug Enforcement Administration for an aircraft to stealthily follow traffickers to the border.

    On this day, agents weren’t wearing raid jackets or combat boots and weren’t armed with warrants.

    Guns were hidden under civilian shirts.

    Another tip took agents on a 30-minute drive from the shack to a sprawling home with a pool in the back and an American flag out front.

    It turned out two handguns, of a type drug gangsters prefer, were bought by a pastor for target practice.

    Some stories, they say, are hard to believe.

    The lamest so far came from a police officer: He said he bought a few military-style rifles, left them in his car and — on the same night — forgot to lock a door. He couldn’t explain why he didn’t file a police report or why he visited Mexico the day after the alleged theft.
  2. jackdanson

    jackdanson Well-Known Member


    I'm quite angry, that is all I've got to say.
  3. texas bulldog

    texas bulldog Well-Known Member

    Why does the author think it's so hard to believe that a pastor bought two handguns? What is this country coming to?!?
  4. waterhouse

    waterhouse Well-Known Member

    Similar to door to door salesman, police generally have the right to knock on your door and ask to speak with you, ask to see your guns, ask to search your house, etc. You have every right to say no.
  5. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Would love to know what that is.

    Glock maybe? So Glocks ,the number one selling handgun in the country, are now suspicious on their own?

    Would love to know what that means "a type drug gangsters prefer".

    The important part is that you have the right to tell them NO. Amazing to me why so many people fail to exercise that right.
  6. waterhouse

    waterhouse Well-Known Member

    I don't know what they based it on, but they have a pretty narrowly defined list, most of which are not too popular in terms of sales volume. Calibers like 5.7 and .38 Super are apparently biggies; I had to count how many I had sold at my last inspection.
  7. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    Wonder what they will do when they found out I bought one (or two :D) for CCW purpose?

    You know how it goes...got one of those gangstah .38 snubbies. Might even get a sight installed on the side of the barrel.

    This witch hunt is getting absurd...as are the commentary given by most media politikal officers, er...I mean writers.

  8. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Guess I'm next on the list then, I have both of those LOL
  9. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    Those are "biggies" because in Mexico, the law is - or, at least it was - that civilians could not own military calibers. Thus, 9mm, .45ACP, et. al., were verboten...I mean, no esta bueno.

    The .38 Super has historically been a favorite down there for this exact reason.

  10. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    So that's a hilarious argument, our government must be made of geniuses.

    The people buying illegal guns to use in illegal activities are worried about having the firearm be in a legal caliber? LOL
  11. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    It's *GOVERNMENT*.
    It doesn't have to make sense.

    And besides, it's THEIR government with the law. Ours just gets to play cops for them.

    You know, I wonder if the Justice Dept sends them a bill for the hours spent chasing down their guns.

    Too, I wonder if the Mexican Gov't sends us a bill for the hour (singular) they spent (past tense) chasing down illegal drug trafficers.

  12. peyton

    peyton Well-Known Member

    Rush started his show with this. He pointed out that FDR outlawed gold private ownership by executive order, our president will do the same with guns.
  13. SHusky57

    SHusky57 Well-Known Member

    Christiangunowner.com is a pastor who loves Glocks.
    Gangsters use Glocks.
    Law enforcement use Glocks.
    NATO militaries use Glocks.
    Sport shooters use Glocks.

    So, technically, it's truthful to say "type preferred by gangsters." It's just dishonest to leave out the Law enforcement, sport shooter, NATO, civilian part.
  14. Spreadfire Arms

    Spreadfire Arms Well-Known Member

    i was told from a reliable source, some time ago (which now may have changed), that the two most popular pistols going south of the border are a Glock 17 and a Beretta 92. they were supposedly the two most sought-after weapons. i dont really sell either one, and i dont own either one, so i guess it doesn't really affect me.

    i was told that the reason why is because both are 9mm and weapons familiar to persons trained by the military (i would assume the Mexican Military).

    of course this date may have changed. that was about a year ago.
  15. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    What's a drug gangster?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  16. waterhouse

    waterhouse Well-Known Member

    I was interested in the fact that they didn't take any information on the ones I had sold. 4473s weren't referenced, just interest in the number that have left the premises.

    I haven't checked the Mexican laws in a few years, but IIRC there was a distinction between levels of punishment (i.e. felony vs. misdemeanor) based on the caliber. I think the theory is that if you are going to have a gun you might as well carry the one that gets you the least punishment. I'm not saying it makes much sense, just a tiny bit.
  17. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    .38 Supers are still popular in Mexico

    The largest legal semi-automatic caliber a citizen can possess is .380acp and it has been that way for over fifteen years.

    This "journalist" story reeks of hype without much substance.

    The cop being the victim of a theft story is priceless.
    The "cop" must have been so rookie his shoes had not yet been scuffed.

    I call B.S.
  18. NC-Mike

    NC-Mike Well-Known Member

    Why are people questioning the Feds doing a strawman-purchasing investigation?

    Strawman purchases are where thugs get most of their guns and here the Feds are doing something about and trying to enforce the laws we have, instead of passing new laws to solve the obvious problem.

    Let them have at it, they didn't seem to be breaking any laws or violating anyone's civil rights in the course of their investigation.
  19. jackdanson

    jackdanson Well-Known Member

    Because they are selecting people at random, not because they have probable cause or the belief that they did something wrong.

    Should the feds question everyone who has an internet connection to see if they have any child pornography? Should everyone who buys a bag of fertilizer at home depot be questioned?

    Actually it's theft, but whatever.


    They want to imprison you, they need convictions to justify why they exist.
  20. conw

    conw Well-Known Member

    Schiller is a shill.
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