Federal prosecutor criticizes ATF sting

CREATED Mar. 15, 2013

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A federal prosecutor says a Milwaukee sting by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wasn't the best use of law enforcement resources.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fran Schmitz, in rare criticism of law enforcement efforts, said in federal court Thursday the sting failed to catch the violent offenders it was designed to get. Schmitz spoke at the first sentencing resulting from the sting. Defendant Michael Buford was sentencing for selling drugs.

A Journal Sentinel investigation found the storefront sting last year in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood was plagued by problems. Agents' guns, including a machine gun, were stolen from the storefront, nearly $40,000 in merchandise from the fake store was stolen, a sensitive ATF operations plan was left behind and a ballistic shield was lost.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com