The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also known as ATF, the agency in charge of enforcing the nation’s gun laws, has imprisoned more than 1,000 people by enticing them to rob drug stash houses that do not exist, according to an article titled “Targeting Trigger Pullers” in
USA Today. While this tactic has become common with the ATF, according to
USA Today, the stings are so aggressive and costly that some prosecutors have refused to allow them. They skirt (and in some cases, cross) the boundaries of entrapment and have left several suspects dead, according to
Paul Petruzzi, a well-respected lawyer in South Florida, has his own opinion about the matter. “What the ATF does in these cases is totally wrong and unfair. I, along with several other federal defense lawyers in South Florida, cross examined David Villamonte, the informant mentioned in this [“Targeting Trigger Pullers”] article. The jury in my case found my client not guilty on all counts informant, the agents, and the prosecution. This informant lured the young men to meetings with the undercover agent and, while driving them there, provided them with drugs to smoke and get high from before the undercover agent could record them.”
Additionally, Petruzzi says, they “tried to hide the informant’s history of psychiatric problems; including a probation violation where he was found high on heroin, hanging from a noose in his garage after trying to kill himself. Also, during the undercover stage of the “investigation”, this same informant was pulled over with drugs in his car (and a person he was supposed to be investigating) and charged with drug possession. As soon as the ATF found out about it, they called the prosecutors and the charges disappeared.”
“The bottom line is this: I feel sorry for the poor, young, unsophisticated men that get entrapped by this dishonest police conduct and these shady “investigations.” Every one of these cases stinks from top to bottom. The defense lawyers just need to dig and fight and the jury will do what is right.”
Here are the transcripts of his cross examination of the informant and the ATF undercover agent “United States v. Andrew Kinsey”, which tool place in Fort Lauderdale, FL.