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ATF methods for stopping violent crime under criticism by some

Drugs are trafficked into the US and Wisconsin from several countries, and through several different routes. It may often be difficult for law enforcement officials to interrupt the manufacturing or distribution of drugs before they hit the streets and are sold to drug users. The use of drugs may also lead to more serious and more violent crimes, particularly in inner city areas. In an attempt to stop the problem before it starts, some law enforcement agencies have created unique ways to trap people who they feel are dangerous criminals.

Since 2003, the ATF has increased the amount of fake stash houses and drugs by close to four times. Although experts are split on the effectiveness and legality of this tactic, ATF officials feel it is an effective way to get violent criminals off the streets.

The scheme works when undercover ATF officials approach a person that is known for being involved with drugs, and the agents fake displeasure with drug distributors. The officials then ask the person to raid a stash house and steal the drugs, and inform them they may be forced to kill anyone in the home. When the person enters the fake stash house, they are met and arrested by police and ATF agents.

Critics of this tactic say it is too expensive and too closely linked to entrapment, but fans of the ATF’s methods feel it is a viable alternative to allowing violent criminals to wander the streets. Several arrested have had no prior violent record, and seven have been killed during a sting. With over 1,000 people being arrested since the ATF started using this method, it may be necessary to take a closer look to guarantee that each person gets a fair trial.

Source: USA Today, “ATF uses fake drugs, big bucks to snare suspects,” Brad Health, June 28, 2013

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