ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


ATF News
For Immediate Release:
January
27, 2000
Contact:

Dale Armstrong, Resident Agent in Charge

West Palm Beach Field Office

Telephone: (561) 835-8878 Fax: (561) 835-9754

Eduardo Halley, Special Agent/Public Information Officer

Telephone: (305) 597-4800 Fax: (305) 597-4797


ATF Serves Search
and Arrest Warrants at Trail Guns, Lake Worth Florida

On January
26, 2000, Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF) served served Federal search and arrest warrants at Trail Guns
,
a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer and Pawnbroker located at 3170 South
Military Trail in Lake Worth, Florida.

These
warrants culminate a 7-month investigation into violations of various
Federal firearm laws being committed by the owner and employees at Trail
Guns. At this time the owner and one employee has been arrested.

ATF first
became suspicious of Trail Guns after looking at crime gun trace information
collected by the ATF National Tracing Center. When local law enforcement
officers recover crime guns they frequently request the ATF National Tracing
Center to trace the history of the gun to help their investigation. ATF
then analyzes the collective information of all crime guns traced by law
enforcement in areas such as Palm Beach County using Project LEAD. This
ATF system can help identify firearm traffickers or licensed gun dealers
who are a frequent source of crime guns. With more than 250 Federally
licensed firearms dealers in Palm Beach County, this system helps focus
limited investigative resources where they can have the most impact.

Using
Project LEAD information, ATF agents in West Palm Beach noticed that Trail
Guns was one of the top sources of crime guns recovered by law enforcement
in Palm Beach County each year for the last few years. The ensuing investigation
focused on why this was the case.

ATF agents
soon discovered Trail Guns would coach persons who were denied the ability
to purchase a gun during the criminal record check on how to bring in
a friend to get by the check and get the gun. In other words, when the
criminal record check, required by the Brady Law, was successful in preventing
a convicted felon from buying a gun, Trail Guns would circumvent the law
so they could make a sale and the felon could get the gun. During the
investigation, undercover agents were able to purchase a number of firearms
illegally, including a silencer. If convicted of the alleged Federal firearm
law violations, the two face a sentence, of up to ten years in Federal
prison.

ATF considers
this a very serious crime since Trail Guns was actively circumventing
Brady Law successes and knowingly arming felons with significant firepower.
This type of case is one of ATF's top priorities since identifying and
halting illegal sources of crime guns helps reduce armed crime and makes
communities safer.



This was last updated on January 28, 2000