Green Room

Video: ATF fights cigarette smuggling by … smuggling cigarettes

posted at 12:14 pm on October 18, 2013 by

Instapundit writes, “Wait, I’ve seen this movie before!” Indeed we have, only without busting anyone for it.  Maybe it’s because reselling “assault weapons” and grenades isn’t as lucrative.  Reason TV’s latest “Don’t Cops Have Better Things To Do” video is, er … smoking:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, (and Explosives!) has been fighting cigarette smuggling by smuggling cigarettes. Agents buy smokes in low-tax states like Virginia and sell them in high-tax states like New York. The sting operations are supposed to help build cases against smugglers, but ATF is cashing in too.

By law ATF may keep booty to cover “operational expenses.” As if the line between law breakers and law enforcers wasn’t blurry enough already, a recent inspector general report highlights a “serious lack of oversight” at the agency. Seems that confidential informants have been allowed pocket, not expenses, but profits amounting to millions of dollars. ATF agents have “misused” $162 million in sting operation profits and “lost track” of $420 million cigarettes. (Yes, this is the same ATF that lost more than a thousand weapons during the infamous Fast and Furious fiasco.) And if you’re having trouble distinguishing the “good” guys from the “bad” guys, just remember: The “good” guys are the ones who get taxpayer-funded salaries and pensions.

But hey, don’t federal agents have better things to do! Well, ATF’s own most-wanted list features men suspected of crimes like murder, so yeah, agents could focus more time busting violent criminals. Then again, cigarette smuggling is much more lucrative.

The timing of this couldn’t be worse for the ATF, either.

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FOWG1 on October 18, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Hell, why not, they plotted/fought our firearms by smuggling illegal weapons to Mexico, anyone remember “fast and furious”?

RoyalFlush on October 18, 2013 at 2:29 PM

The ATF Charleston unit had my phone bugged in the mid 90’s… and I would never had known about it had my buddy in SC not used the FIA to find out why the Feds were snooping around his house.

Seems like the ATF gets their panties in a bunch over empty WWII mags for reenactment groups, and labels you a “gunrunner” until you have to bring the local cops on the scene to keep them from breaking down your door and shooting everyone present.

The ATF is a militarized political unit much like the old Stasi in the former East Germany – A collection of cop wannabe’s (or criminals, take your pick) that needs to be disbanded so REAL law officers can get on with doing the grunt work of law enforcement.

Turtle317 on October 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Ooooh, it’s just like when they fought gun violence by giving guns to violent men!

Waggoner on October 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I detect a pattern.

Beo on October 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Wait… isn’t this the opening scene to Beverly Hills Cop?

Where Eddie Murphy says, “Read my lips: Five thousand dollars!” before careening around in the back of a tractor trailer full of bootleg cigarettes?

VastRightWingConspirator on October 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Now the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is now 3/4 of the items it has helped smuggle (Fast and Furious covered two of those: they helped smuggle Grenades and Firearms).

The first step to not breaking the law is to stop breaking the law.

Chaz706 on October 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Just reading the headline was enough to know how this was fustercluck was proceeding.
Maybe they should axe the Soprano crew, or a Kennedy, on how to properly disperse contraband. Geesh – it’s embarrassing when sociopaths make the gubmint appear competent and sane.
And then, there was the SWAT cop in Phoenix who was authorized to buy MP-5s. He and all of his pals made out quite well until caught and prosecuted.

Karl Magnus on October 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM