As the stolen property was evidence, much of it had to be held until the case was adjudicated; sometimes for several years as the case could be brought up for an appeal. The insurance companies would pay for the loss in many instances and it was a nightmare on how to settle the proceeds of the crime once they were sold at a police auction.
That being said, the feds always seemed to have a hankering for a good old fashioned sting. And it may come back to haunt them.
According to an El Paso newspaper, Operation GunRunner has been operating since at least January, 2008.
Sen. Chuck Grassley: Guns in ATF sting tied to agent's death
A senator is examining claims that bandits who gunned down a U.S. Border Patrol agent during a December firefight near the Arizona-Mexico border may have been armed with assault rifles purchased from a Glendale, Ariz., gun store that were part of a federal sting operation and subsequently smuggled into Mexico.
In a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggests that negligence by federal agents who failed to keep the firearms out of Mexico may have played a part in the Dec. 14 slaying of agent Brian Terry, a member of the Border Patrol's elite tactical unit known as BORTAC.
Grassley said he had information that the AK-47s recovered at the shooting scene were traced to Project Gunrunner, an ATF program designed to stem the illegal flow of U.S. guns to Mexico.
"Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the southwestern border area and into Mexico," the senator wrote to acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson. "According to the allegations, one of these individuals purchased three assault rifles with cash in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 16, 2010. Two of the weapons were then allegedly used in a firefight on Dec. 14, 2010, against Customs and Border Protection agents, killing CBP Agent Brian Terry."
In addition to the tragic possiblility that an American law enforcement officer was killed just last month as a result of this sting, it begs the following questions:
The LA Times is also running this story, but it minimizes the role the ATF played in getting the guns into the hands of murderous cartel members. Call your congresscritter and let them know that you want a complete inquiry into this matter.