Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 4, 2009

Contact: Special Agent Austin R. Banks

Public Information Officer, ATF

(505) 329-1443

ATF Nets Quick Recovery Of 16 Stolen Firearms

RENO, Nev. — Special Agent in Charge Stephen C. Herkins of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), San Francisco Field Division, and Reno Police Chief Michael Poehlman today announced the recovery of 16 firearms stolen from the Sierra Valley Gun Club, located in Plumas County, Calif.

The Sierra Valley Gun Club, located on private property three miles south of Highway 70 off of A-24, in Beckworth, Calif., reported a theft of firearms on Dec. 14, 2008. The Reno Police Department and the Street Enforcement Team (SET) subsequently contacted ATF and advised that they received information regarding an individual who allegedly had stolen firearms for sale. On Feb. 12, 2009, an ATF undercover agent purchased 12 firearms that were stolen from the Sierra Valley Gun Club from Michael Todd Irving, age 35, a resident of Sparks. Irving was subsequently arrested on state weapons violations.

Following Irving’s arrest, ATF continued an intensive investigation and determined that Irving had a partner in the theft of the firearms, John Daniel Smith, age 33, a resident of Reno. Smith was subsequently contacted and arrested on a state stolen property violation.

Agents conducted numerous interviews and were able to recover four additional firearms from various individuals residing in and around the Reno area.

On Feb. 24, 2009, a Federal Grand Jury in Reno, returned a True Bill, charging Michael Todd Irving and John Daniel Smith with violations of Federal Firearms laws; Title 18, Section 922(g)(1), Felon In Possession of Firearms, and Title 18, Section 922(j), Possession of Stolen Firearms. State charges of both defendants will be dropped in lieu of federal prosecution.

The charges in the indictment are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Due to the outstanding relationship we have with ATF, and their immediate attention and response to the information received, the recovery of stolen firearms in the Reno area became a reality, said Chief Poehlman.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating federal firearms violations. More information about ATF and its programs is available at