Green Room

ATF just lost track of 420 million cigarettes

posted at 3:05 pm on September 25, 2013 by

ATF is really good at losing things. In 2010, they lost 2500 guns (AK-47s, .50 cal rifles) in Mexico and 1400 of them are still missing. Those guns are regularly being used to kill people. Earlier this year, ATF lost a machine gun on the streets of Milwaukee. Yes, a machine gun.  And now, ATF has lost 420 million cigarettes.

Government agents acting without authorization conducted dozens of undercover investigations of illegal tobacco sales, misused some of $162 million in profits from the stings and lost track of at least 420 million cigarettes, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday.

In one case, ATF agents sold $15 million in cigarettes and later turned over $4.9 million in profits from the sales to a confidential informant — even though the agency did not properly account for the transaction.

Reviewing three-dozen ATF undercover cigarette stings between 2006 and 2011, the inspector general found that none of those income-generating probes had been given proper prior approval by an internal ATF review committee, as required by agency policy.

One of those sting operations did not have any approval, either from the ATF or the Justice Department. In that 2009 case, ATF officials allowed a tobacco distributor working as an ATF confidential informant to keep $4.9 million in profits from cigarette sales to criminal suspects. ATF officials justified the move by explaining the $4.9 million covered the informant’s expenses. But the inspector general said the agency failed to “require the informant to provide adequate documentation to support or justify those expenses.”

The remaining profits were used by agency officials to pay for a separate ATF cigarette smuggling sting — which the inspector general said violated ATF rules that profits from a “churning investigation” could only be used to fund that specific operation, not other cases.

The inspector general said shoddy documentation and inventory controls made it impossible to account for more than 2.1 million cartons of cigarettes — totaling 420 million cigarettes — during at least 20 separate ATF sting operations. The watchdog estimated the retail value of those items at $127 million.

Is losing millions of cigarettes pretty harmless? Sure, especially compared to guns, but c’mon man! Not to mention the huge abuse of money from profits.

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Can they lose a few crates of vodka in my basement?

(along with a machine gun, that goes without saying.)

rbj on September 25, 2013 at 3:15 PM

That’s a lot of Marlboro Miles.

Mark1971 on September 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

No long-haired, yellow-bellied son of Slick Willy’s gonna mother Hubbard soft soap me with just a pocketful of hope. It’s money for smokes. Money for dopes.

/bad parody

mankai on September 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

ATF just lost track of 420 million cigarettes

No they didn’t. This spells corruption, plain and simple. Or in this case, plain and menthol.

JusDreamin on September 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Anybody check the shed behind the White House? Prolly find some malt liquor instead of that microbrew crap, too.

M240H on September 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Anybody check the shed behind the White House? Prolly find some malt liquor instead of that microbrew crap, too.

M240H on September 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Last time I was in DC, there was some rather massive construction on the White House grounds. Coincidence?

Steve Eggleston on September 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Check inside Obama’s golf bag.

forest on September 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Just wait for all the things HHS losses track of..

Flange on September 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Given how dangerous cigarettes are (according to liberals) they really ought to be doing more about this. Do it for the children!
/s

Of course the other question to ask is how someone makes a profit of over 33% (the informant didn’t get all the profit at $5mil) on any item, even on the black market? Holey moley! I need to quit my day job, I guess……..

GWB on September 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

It’s easy to figure out where the cigarettes went.

Just check where the the price of cigarettes on the underground market has dropped through the floor.

Of course, not understanding capitalism, the government would never understand why prces would suddenly drop.

MichaelGabriel on September 25, 2013 at 4:28 PM

And another thing about cigarettes….

Liberals are always whining about second hand smoke.

Obamacare imposes a stiff premium on cigarette smokers (because of the incresed health care costs), but not their family members and friends who are exposed to the second hand smoke.

There is a disconnect here.

MichaelGabriel on September 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

ATF is out of control.

Misappropriation of $4.9 million calls for jail time.

Unauthorized operations call for firings or demotions.

Somebody signed for those those cigarettes. The last guy with his name on them needs to be fired and have his income garnished forever.

They need to find the crook(s) in the ATF who “lost” those cigarettes and put him in jail for years.

That’s what they need to do – but they won’t. ATF gets away with abetting hundreds of murders in the U.S. and Mexico. Why should they worry about stealing $100 million in cigarettes?

DamnCat on September 25, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Is losing millions of cigarettes pretty harmless? Sure, especially compared to guns, but c’mon man! Not to mention the huge abuse of money from profits.

Just another of Obama’s weaponized / politicized federal agencies. I’m betting a huge chunk of the unapproved, undocumented, and unaccounted for profits are ending up in the liberal coffers.

Oxymoron on September 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Check the mall parking lot in Chicago.

davidk on September 25, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Just wait for all the things HHS losses track of..

Flange on September 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM

After the government lost track of SAMS in Libya and an ambassador, I’m figuring jets and tanks will go missing next.

Obama is equipping SQ in Syria, but I saw no congressional approval for that.

dogsoldier on September 25, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Unfricken believable. Heads should roll. But they won’t.

In one case, ATF agents sold $15 million in cigarettes and later turned over $4.9 million in profits from the sales to a confidential informant — even though the agency did not properly account for the transaction.

Then the confidential informant handed over $$ to agents – and everybody was happy.

Hill60 on September 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Check Rahm Emanuel’s closet.

John the Libertarian on September 25, 2013 at 8:57 PM

…Mooch has them!

KOOLAID2 on September 25, 2013 at 9:10 PM

That’s a lot of Marlboro Miles.

Mark1971 on September 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Why, you could redeem them for an official Marlboro franchise.

/once sent in Marlboro miles and got a set of official Marlboro BBQ utensils

Ugly on September 25, 2013 at 9:33 PM

That’s nothing. Did anyone see Special Report tonight. Apparently we lost brand new up armored vehicles, tons of hand guns and night vision goggles in the Mid East. Makes Fast & Furious look like child’s play.

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Is losing millions of cigarettes pretty harmless? Sure…

Katie…you just cited over $130 million stolen from the government by ATF agents. No, it’s not “pretty harmless”…it is grand theft on a congressional scale.

Jaibones on September 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM

cigarettes should be legalized…

equanimous on September 25, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Anybody check Nathan Thurm?

apostic on September 26, 2013 at 4:18 AM

1) Good.

2) Can someone please explain to me what an “illegal” cigarette is in a way that justifies their being looked after by a federal agency that the entire nation pays for?

3) ATF, convenience store, etc.

HitNRun on September 26, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Unions, aka organized crime, has been let into the government. 65 million “missing” from Obamacare..more black market cigs available..”green energy” companies bankrupted after they get tax dollars..etc.
Does anyone remember a few months back when some millions worth of newly designed 100. bills vanished? Golly..how convenient. An early start on faking them. Imo none of these things are accidents..like putting all the Seal Team 6 members in a slow moving helicopter over hostile territory.
It seems that we are not going to wake up in time.

Mimzey on September 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Why is the A and T in ATF? Who cares? And why are they not if anything part of the DEA?

These federal agencies really have gotten out of control.

Roll the A and T into the DEA and then consider just not regulating the A and T at all that much because what after all is the point with heroin on the streets?

Karmashock on September 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Will anyone be subject to prosecution or will this be swept under the rug also.

jaywemm on September 26, 2013 at 1:06 PM

A better argument for the abolition of the ATF I cannot think of.

Othniel on September 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Mooch caught Barry with them and made him smoke them all at once.

blammm on September 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM