ATF’s 5,100 employees enforce federal criminal laws and regulate the firearms and explosives industries. ATF investigates violent crimes involving firearms and explosives, acts of arson, and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. ATF also provides training and support to its federal, state, local, and international law enforcement partners and works in 25 field divisions with representation throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. Foreign offices are located in Mexico, Canada, Colombia, and Iraq, as well as a Regional Firearms Advisor based in San Salvador serving El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 285 complaints involving ATF personnel. The most common allegations made against ATF employees were waste and mismanagement and official misconduct. The majority of the complaints were considered management issues and were provided to ATF for its review and appropriate action.
During this reporting period, the OIG opened four cases and referred seven allegations to ATF’s OPR for action or investigation. At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 11 open criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct related to ATF employees. The criminal investigations include off-duty violations.
The following is an example of a case involving ATF that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
- On April 11, 2011, an ATF Special Agent assigned to the Washington Field Division pled guilty to charges of theft of public property, possessing or receiving stolen firearms, false statements, wire fraud, and money laundering. In pleading guilty, the Special Agent admitted that in his official capacity, he converted ATF seizures of firearms, tobacco, and currency to his personal use. Also, the Special Agent admitted that he falsified official ATF documents relating to the disposition of the firearms and made unauthorized sales of tobacco product inventory and retained the proceeds. The Special Agent was subsequently sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia to 37 months’ imprisonment followed by 2 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $10,210 in restitution as well as forfeiture of $4,860 in recovered government funds. The Special Agent resigned from ATF. The investigation by the OIG’s Washington Field Office was conducted with the assistance of ATF and the City of Hampton, Virginia, Police Department.
The OIG is reviewing ATF’s federal firearms licensee inspection program. After an OIG review in 2004, ATF made a series of changes to that program and its administrative action process. This review is assessing the changes made to the program, ATF’s process for inspecting licensed firearms dealers, the process for referring suspected criminal violations, and how ATF institutes administrative actions on licensed dealers that violate federal firearms laws and regulations.
Explosives Industry Program
The OIG is reviewing whether ATF’s Explosives Industry Program complies with the Safe Explosives Act requirement to inspect all explosives license and permit holders at least once every 3 years and whether ATF analyzes information the program gathers to improve the program.
Income-Generating Undercover Operations
The OIG is conducting an audit of ATF’s income-generating undercover operations to assess ATF’s management of the revenue generated from these operations and its management of funds appropriated for the program. The OIG also seeks to determine whether ATF ensures that proceeds from income-generating undercover operations are properly allocated at the conclusion of the operations.