Your Tax Dollars At Work
On January 23, 2013, my home and my business was raided and ransacked by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Several agencies were involved:
Homeland Security, ATF, Customs, ICE, the NM Attorney General's Office, and several others.
UPDATE (July 7, 2015):
On July 7, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Albuquerque District Court ruling which suppressed the evidence. The Court found
that without the false statements of the agent (and the ATF Industry Operations Investigator), the government had no probable cause to raid or
search. In other words, the government built the case based on false and misleading statements by the retired ATF agent and the ATF Investigator.
Both falsely claimed violations of laws that don't exist.
We have learned that the investigation began with the ATF Industry Operations Investigator (she conducts annual inspections of FFL holders),
who provided false and misleading information to the agent that he, in turn, included in his sworn affidavit. Local FFL holders will know exactly
who this woman is. She referred the case to an ATF agent who later retired. The retired ATF agent went to work as a Special Agent for the New Mexico
Attorney General, was assigned to a Homeland Security Task Force, and took my case with him. He has since been fired.
On 8 July 2014, the United States District Court for New Mexico ruled to suppress the evidence.
The Court found the agent provided false and misleading information in the sworn Affidavits to Magistrate Judges in order to obtain multiple search warrants.
The Court also ruled the agent acted with "reckless disregard" for the truth and the law.
The Judge wrote: "The ATF agents involved in this case have repeatedly overlooked details that affect the accuracy of their statements."
"Moreover, it is particularly troubling that there are multiple misstatements regarding FFL requirements in the warrant affidavit.
This pattern supports the Court’s conclusion that these misstatements were not the results of mere negligence."
The Government appealed the ruling to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. All briefs were filed and oral argument was heard on May 5.
The decision was released on July 7, 2015 - see above.
The agent's false and misleading statments and his "reckless disregard" for the truth and the law are findings of fact, and were not appealed.
My car was intercepted on the street on my way home from a medical appointment by agents with machine guns. I was held at gunpoint and handcuffed,
then taken to my house where two heavy armored cars were driven up on my lawn. I was restrained in handcuffs for over an hour.
A DHS Special Response (SWAT) Team and the local Bernalillo County SWAT Team stormed my house with machine guns drawn.
Many more personnel were brought in along with a mobile command post, and all my firearms were seized, including antiques, airguns, flare guns, blank pistols, model guns and many parts.
Customer consignments, shipments in transit in or out were also seized, along with Invoices, Computers and other records.
My house was trashed. Snack food wrappers, soda cans, water bottles and rubber gloves were just dropped and left strewn around the house.
Documents were scattered and shuffled. Parts were scattered. Pistol magazines were strewn about the house - with some left in my bed. Packing material (plastic peanuts) thrown everywhere. A computer pried open and the keyboard thrown to the floor. Hard drives destroyed.
Antique shotgun was not in this condition when they entered my house. I found it broken and left behind.
After the agents left my house, this is what we found at the entrance to my secure room.
Yes, this is exactly how the government agents set it up and left it for me to find.
Nearly 12 months later, over 99% of the seized guns have been returned, and I am back in operation on a reduced scale.
Many of the guns were damaged, and many pistol magazines, holsters and original boxes were not returned. Several rifles were broken in half.
Broken guns exactly as returned.
Some holsters were returned. All these holsters had guns in them, and most were original to the guns. Now, there is no way to know which gun belongs in each holster.
Two large boxes of about 1,000 loose magazines were returned. No way to know which magazines belong to each gun.
Antique German Model 1883 Reichsrevolver. Originally manufactured with no markings and no serial number.
The Government falsely tried to convince the court that guns like this are felony contraband, because:
1. It has no serial number,
2. No markings and
3. It is foreign made with no importer marks.
Here are some government quotes where they falsely claimed to the Court:
"many the firearms seized during the search warrant have no serial numbers, as required by law,
and almost all of them, save a handful, have no importer’s marks, again as required by law.
These firearms have no visible markings, many of which ostensibly had markings at one time, which have been obliterated, or
removed, in violation of the law."
".....almost all of the firearms had no importer’s marks and many had no identifying
information whatsoever. These are contraband at face value.....
Clue: These claims are flagrantly false. All such firearms are completely legal - as confirmed by ATF Headquarters.
1) Serial numbers were not required on firearms manufactured before 1968.
2) Hundreds of thousands of .22 rifles were manufactured without serial numbers before 1968.
3) Licensed importers were not required to put a serial number on imported firearms before 1968.
4) Thousands of surplus guns were imported by Interarms (and other companies) during the 1950s and 1960s with no import marks.
5) Untold thousands of guns were brought back by the Veterans of the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet-Nam, all with no import marks.
6) ATF has ruled, as an individual, you may still manufacture a firearm today, and you are not required to place any markings nor serial number on it.
Further, ATF has ruled in writing that
7) You may remove all markings except a serial number, from any firearm, and
8) Any firearm manufactured without a serial number, doesn't need one.
Doesn't it seem strange that, in the United States today, the Government can make false statements of law to the Federal Courts with seeming impunity?
For further information on this subject, click here: Licensed to Lie for a 90 minute discussion at the CATO Institute
about a recent book, "Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice".
Former federal prosecutor and appellate attorney Sidney Powell talks about her book, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,
in which she discusses prosecutorial misconduct and what can be done about it. This event was held at the Cato Institute, and commentary was provided by Alex Kozinski,
chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, Ronald Weich, who is notorious for his testimony before the Congressional subcommittee on ATF's Operation Fast and Furious,
who is now dean of the University of Baltimore Law School, and some enlightening comments by Timothy Lynch, Director, CATO Project on Criminal Justice.
Timothy Lynch made several pointed comments that really hit home:
"Now we also have to worry about situations where people have actually not violated any one of these rules and regulations but have nevertheless been targeted by an unethical Federal prosecutor.
As a matter of fact, their own attorneys often advised them to plead guilty, even when they have met with their client and are convinced that they are innocent.
A lot of people say, How can that be? Why would that happen? These attorneys will argue that the alternative is even worse. It's too risky. We were talking about
complete bankruptcy if you don't plead guilty early in the process. Because the case will drag on...."
"You know this is just not the same America that we grew up with."
The Federal Prosecutor
On Monday morning, April 1, 1940, Attorney General Robert H. Jackson gave the following speech to the United States Attorneys who then were
serving in each Federal Judicial District across the country. [extract] Robert H. Jackson was United States Attorney General (1940–1941), an
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941–1954) and chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.
“If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor:
that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted. With the law books filled with a great
assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a
case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking
the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him. It is in this realm—in which the prosecutor
picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest
danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with
the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor
Note: This is a stock photo and similar to the vehicle and personnel from the raid.
DHS SRT Details
On Down The Road
Hold to the course, though the storms are about you;
Stick to the road where the banner still flies;
Fate and his legions are ready to rout you--
Give 'em both barrels--and aim for their eyes.
Life's not a rose bed, a dream or a bubble,
A living in clover beneath cloudless skies;
And Fate hates a fighter who's looking for trouble,
So give 'im both barrels--and shoot for the eyes.
Fame never comes to the loafers and sitters,
Life's full of knots in a shifting disguise;
Fate only picks on the cowards and quitters,
So give 'em both barrels--and aim for the eyes.
~ Grantland Rice, From "The Sportlight."