WASHINGTON D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- In an internal meeting, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) heads have asked Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) to use their gun store visits to investigate whether firearms are being trafficked to the Southern Border into the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
Operation Southbound is the program that is supposed to cut firearms trafficking to Mexican drug cartel members and cut off the flow of drugs coming northbound from Mexico. The operation is led by the ATF but is also a joint project with multiple other law enforcement and federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of State (DOS).
The U.S. government is working with Mexican law enforcement agencies to trace guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes back to the original purchaser on the U.S. side of the border. The Mexican authorities report the serial numbers of the recovered firearms to the ATF. Then the agency starts an investigation into how the guns ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
The ATF is now going further in its efforts to stop guns from getting into Mexico.
Some advocates worry that the new initiative violates a long-standing ATF agency policy and could lead to the agency violating the people’s right to due process by doing what amounts to a warrantless search.
The ATF is asking its IOIs to use their official visits to gun shops to examine federal firearms licensed (FFL) dealer’s books and paperwork to look for patterns of guns flowing to the southern border. This new order is an expansion of the IOI’s mission. IOI does not have training in looking for patterns of the illegal flow of firearms to the southern border.
IOIs are supposed to use their inspections to assure that FFLs are complying with record-keeping laws. According to ATF rules laid out in the IOI handbook that Gun Owners of America (GOA) obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the inspectors are not allowed to investigate crimes. Yet, that is what the head brass at the ATF is asking the IOIs to do. That changes the mission of the IOIs from administrative investigations to criminal investigators. IOIs are not law enforcement officers.
Click the link to read the whole article: ATF Have Inspectors Carry Out Warrantless Searches