ATF Employee Allegedly Caught Running Gun Smuggling Operation

ATF Employee Allegedly Caught Running Gun Smuggling Operation

( – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is one of the most powerful law enforcement agencies in the country. The policies it enacts can have a major impact on law-abiding gun owners in the country. A Senate leader is now demanding answers from the agency, accusing its employees of misdeeds.

On October 18, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach telling him that whistleblowers have contacted his office to raise concerns about the agency’s failure to “hold its employees accountable for engaging in criminal misconduct.” Specifically, the ATF reportedly failed to fully investigate an employee who was allegedly illegally trafficking firearms.

Grassley stated that he received documents that showed that in 2017, the ATF assigned Investigator Jose Luis Meneses to an office inside the US Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico. Meneses was a foreign national who allegedly admitted he’d been trafficking firearms for years. Instead of launching a full investigation, the ATF declined.

In May of that year, then-ATF Attaché for the Mexico Country Office (ATF Mexico) Craig Saier sent an email to the then-State Department Deputy Chief of Mission for Mexico City, William Duncan. The email was titled “Notification to Government of Mexico of ATF Investigator Involved in Firearms Trafficking” and included information about the agency’s discovery of evidence that allegedly proved Meneses was trafficking guns.

Grassley asked the ATF director for a number of things, including for the agency to:

  • hand over information related to an investigation of the allegations against Meneses;
  • provide answers as to whether the agency investigated any other ATF employees or other possible co-conspirators;
  • give the senator any records pertaining to Meneses trafficking arms into the US;
  • provide documents about the investigator allegedly using his ATF-issued vehicle to traffick firearms from America into Mexico, and;
  • explain the process the agency uses to screen foreign nationals before hiring them.

The ATF director had until October 18, the same day as the date of the letter, to provide the material to the senator.

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