ATF Weekly News

For the Week of February 27th

*** Please Check out ATF’s 2023 National Canine Division Digital Planner!  If you would like a hard copy sent to you, please email John Wells at john.wells@atf.gov with your name, organization and address.  ***

From the Department of Justice

Office of the Attorney General - Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Opening Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee:  Every day, our FBI, ATF, and DEA agents, and our Deputy U.S. Marshals put their lives on the line to disrupt threats and respond to crises. Every day, Department employees counter complex threats to our national security. They fiercely protect the civil rights of our citizens. They pursue accountability for environmental harms. They prosecute crimes that victimize workers, consumers, and taxpayers. And they defend our country’s democratic institutions.

Office of the Deputy Attorney General -  Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco Delivers Remarks at American Bar Association National Institute on White Collar Crime:  “Since returning to the department, the Attorney General and I have prioritized battling corporate crime in order to uphold the rule of law, to strengthen financial markets, and to reassure the public that no person and no company is above the law.”

Office of Justice Programs - National Institute of Justice Examines Link Between Location of Terrorists and Risk of Terrorism:  In domestic terrorism investigations, as in conventional policing, place matters. Information about place helps law enforcement and intelligence agencies identify individuals or groups engaged in terrorism-related activities and provides opportunities to prevent terrorist attacks and apprehend the people involved. Prior spatial research looking at terrorism-related activity focused on the site of the terrorist act, with an inference that planning of the activity occurred at or near the location of the act. However, other research has shown that most terrorists do not live near the places they attack. Understanding the place-related connections between residence, planning and execution of attacks can give law enforcement and intelligence agencies sharper insights into patterns of extremist violence.

Civil Rights Division - Readout of the Justice Department’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Meeting:  The Servicemember and Veterans Initiative, housed in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, works to ensure that the rights of the brave men and women of our Nation’s armed forces, and the veterans who have served in the past, are safeguarded from discrimination and unfair treatment. To learn more about the Justice Department’s Servicemember and Veterans Initiative, please visit Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative (justice.gov). To learn more about the Justice Department’s Office for Access to Justice, please visit Office for Access to Justice.

Drug Enforcement Administration - DEA Announces Proposed Rules for Permanent Telemedicine Flexibilities:  … the Drug Enforcement Administration announced proposed permanent rules for the prescribing of controlled medications via telemedicine, expanding patient access to critical therapies beyond the scheduled end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The public will be able to comment for 30 days on the proposed rules.

Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI Efforts Since the Russian Invasion of Ukraine:  The FBI has surged personnel and technical resources in field offices across the country and our legal attachés overseas to protect the Ukrainian people and infrastructure, U.S. assets, and anyone threatened by the Russian government. We aren’t alone: The FBI is joined by our partners in this fight—whether from the private sector, the KleptoCapture Task Force, or our international law enforcement partners—because this threat requires everyone’s cooperation.

U.S. Marshalls - Canton Man Accused in Columbus Strip Club Shooting Arrested by U.S. Marshals:  This morning, members of the NOVFTF arrested Ingram at a residence near the 100 block of 23rd Street SE in Massillon, Ohio. During the arrest attempt, task force members seized three firearms and another male is potentially being charged for obstruction of justice. Ingram will be held in local custody in Stark County until his extradition back to Columbus.

From ATF

Monday, February 27, 2023

New Orleans Field Division - New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Carjacking, and Weapons Violations:  This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Boston Field Division - Member of Violent North Shore Drug Enterprise Sentenced for Possessing Firearm in Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy:   “Armed violent drug dealers are wreaking havoc in our communities, and using fentanyl in counterfeit prescriptions is a deadly combination. ATF will continue to work alongside our OCDETF partners to become a force multiplier in stopping these organizations from devastating our neighborhoods,” said James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Division.

Chicago Field Division - South Bend Man Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison:   According to documents in the case, on two occasions in May 2022, Slim sold a heroin/fentanyl substance to an individual. A search warrant executed at Slim’s residence resulted in the recovery of 3 firearm, fentanyl/methamphetamine, cocaine, and over $8,000.00 in cash. This is Slim’s third conviction involving guns and his second involving drugs.  Slim’s prior felony convictions preclude him from possessing the firearms.  

Boston Field Division - South Carolina Man Who Trafficked Guns Into Connecticut Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison:  This case was investigated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the assistance of the South Bend Police Department.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jerome W. McKeever.

Tampa Field Division - Live Oak Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring To Possess and Transfer Unregistered Firearm Silencers:   The devices were examined by an ATF Firearms Enforcement Officer and firearms expert who concluded that the devices were consistent in design and construction with firearms silencers that he had examined in the past and he recognized the devices to be firearms silencers. The officer noted that to make the silencers functional, an end-user would need to drill center holes through the silencers’ baffles and end cap; the officer estimated, however, that this task only would require five to ten minutes to complete. Notably, also included in the parcels that the Ewards had mailed were 3D-printed tools, including a tool designed to act as a “jig” to accurately guide the drilling of center holes through the silencers. These silencers were not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by federal law.

Kansas City Field Division - KC Man Sentenced to 19 Years for Forcibly Resisting an Officer, Meth Trafficking, Illegal Firearms:  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

St. Paul Field Division - Bemidji Man Pleads Guilty to Possession With Intent To Distribute Methamphetamine:   According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, on May 2, 2022, law enforcement observed Levi Adams Westbrook, 30, meet with a suspected drug trafficker in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. As Westbrook was traveling back toward northern Minnesota, officers stopped the vehicle in which Westbrook was a passenger. After Westbrook exited the vehicle, officers saw a plastic bag with approximately one pound of methamphetamine on the front passenger floorboard where Westbrook was sitting. Officers also seized a .22 caliber “pen” gun from the passenger compartment. The “pen” gun discharged as the police were securing the gun into evidence.

St. Paul Field Division - Robbinsdale Felon Sentenced to 120 Months in Federal Prison for Illegal Possession of a Firearm:   According to court documents, on April 5, 2022, investigators executed a search warrant at a Robbinsdale apartment associated with Blackman and arrested him on the federal arrest warrant. During the search of the apartment, investigators discovered a Glock, model 21 Gen 4, .45-caliber pistol, with an attached high-capacity magazine, loaded with 18 rounds, on the floor of the bedroom closet. The firearm had an attached auto-sear or “switch,” enabling the firearm to fire as a fully automatic weapon, and the slide lock appeared to be glued into place. The firearm had been reported stolen out of Eden Prairie in May 2019. The defendant’s fingerprints were found on the firearm. Because Blackman has prior felony convictions, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time.

Kansas City Field Division - Joplin, Webb City Man Indicted for Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms:  This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Washington Field Division - Felon Sentenced for Possessing Firearm Used in Gilpin Court Shooting:  This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

New York Field Division - Rochester Felon Pleads Guilty to Gun Charge:  Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassie Kocher, who is handling the case, stated that on September 23, 2022, Wesson was wanted by the Rochester Police Department for an assault that had allegedly occurred on July 25, 2022. At approximately 12:30 p.m., officers saw Wesson in a van on Champlain Street and took him into custody. At that time, Wesson possessed a loaded .45 caliber pistol and ammunition. In In October 2012, and July 2018, Wesson was convicted of felonies in Monroe County Court and is legally prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Kansas City Field Division - Omaha Man Sentenced to 7 Years for Felon in Possession of Ammunition:  United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Austin Galvan, 41, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha for felon in possession of ammunition. United States District Judge Brian C. Buescher sentenced Galvan to 84 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After his release from prison, he will begin a three-year term of supervised release.

Baltimore Field Division - Two Men Facing Federal Indictment in Maryland for an Arson Conspiracy Targeting Convenience Stores:  A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Stephen Kennedy, age 33, of Temple Hills, Maryland, and Donnell Kelly, age 33, of Washington, D.C., for conspiracy to commit arson, arson affecting interstate commerce, commercial robbery, and use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, in connection with a series of convenience store robberies. Kennedy and Kelly are also charged with being felons in possession of a firearm and an explosive device, respectively, and Kennedy is charged with carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. The indictment was returned on February 22, 2023, and was unsealed today upon the arrests of the defendants.  The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland.

Washington Field Division - Two Men Facing Federal Indictment in Maryland for an Arson Conspiracy Targeting Convenience Stores:  United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the ATF Washington Field Division, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam K. Ake and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Rosenthal, who are prosecuting the case.

New Orleans Field Division - Felon Sentenced to 65 Months for Federal Gun Charge:  This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

St. Paul Field Division - Maplewood Man Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Illegal Possession of an Unregistered Pipe Bomb:  According to the plea agreement and other court documents, on April 28, 2022, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the Maplewood residence of Dylan Raymond Orr, 27, after discovering photos of two pipe bombs sent from Orr’s phone to a third-party. The images showed small BBs affixed to the exterior casing of the pipe bombs. During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement discovered two six-inch pipes —one with BBs affixed, four end caps, and explosive powder, components which could be readily converted to a destructive device. Orr did not have a registration to possess these devices from the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as required by law.

Tampa Field Division - Okaloosa County Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm Offense:

Thursday, March 02, 2023

New York Field Division - ATF National Response Team Joins Investigation of Buffalo Theater District Fire:  This is the seventh NRT activation this fiscal year and the 898th since the program began in 1978. The team brings definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents. Four regional components, organized geographically to cover the United States, comprise the NRT. The team can rapidly respond to assist local and state law enforcement or fire service personnel in onsite investigations.

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