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- 08-10-2012, 12:00 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 2007
- South West Florida (Behind friendly lines but still in Occupied Territory)
Feds seize family's guns, money: Attorney General Eric Holder's “Fast and Furious”
KNOX GUN-RIGHTS REPORT
Feds seize family's guns, money
Jeff & Chris Knox: Firearms business is gone forever if convictions are not overturned
Published: 3 hours ago by Jeff Knox
By Jeff Knox and Chris Knox
After almost a year in jail and a three-week trial, a jury has declared the members of the Reese family not guilty on 24 of the 28 counts against them. The jury did convict three of the four family members of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms. Remington Reese, the 20-year old younger son, was acquitted of all charges, while his older brother, Ryin was found guilty on two counts and his father and mother, Rick and Terri, were found guilty on one count each. The charges carry a potential sentence of five years and $50,000 for each count, but those convicted typically receive sentences of about one year.
Those sentences are what judges give to the criminals who knowingly and intentionally lie on federal forms though, not firearms dealers who “should have known” that customers were lying to them. It’s quite possible that, as federally licensed firearms dealers, the Reeses will be held to a higher standard and receive tougher sentences. Sentencing is scheduled for early October. Rick and Ryin will continue to be held without bail, but Terri will remain out on bail until sentence is passed. Remington was released from custody at the conclusion of the trial.
As reported previously in this column, Rick Reese and his family ran a gun shop outside of Deming, N.M., for more than 17 years. Over that time they built up the business into a profitable enterprise, and Rick had planned to retire and close the store. His eldest son, Ryin, 24, was in the process of obtaining a Federal Firearms License, or FFL, of his own and was opening a store in nearby Las Cruces, N.M. In August of last year, local ATF agents asked the family to come down to their offices to discuss Ryin’s FFL application. When the family showed up at the ATF office, they were arrested on charges of conspiring to illegally sell firearms and assist in smuggling them to Mexico, money laundering (because they supposedly knew the money paying for the guns had come from illegal activities) and making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.
At the same time, a task force led by Homeland Security Investigations – including hundreds of federal, state, county and local officers, helicopters, armored personnel carriers and numerous police cruisers – stormed the Reese property where the store and the Reese home is located. Officers held an elderly couple, who were camping on the property, at gunpoint as they searched the couple’s RV. Other officers broke into the store and the basement storage space where they confiscated the store’s inventory, hundreds of guns, almost 2 million rounds of ammunition and more than a dozen empty gun safes. Officers also broke into the Reese home and seized firearms, jewelry, cash and a coin collection Rick Reese had been building since he was a young boy. Vehicles, bank accounts and real estate were also seized. Federal prosecutors initiated forfeiture proceedings last December in an effort to make the seizures permanent before the family even went to trial, which locked up most of the family’s assets leaving them with little means to pay for legal assistance to fight the charges and the forfeiture efforts.
All of this happened to the backdrop of breaking news about agents of the ATF and Department of Justice instructing firearms dealers to sell large numbers of guns and ammunition to known Mexican arms traffickers in an operation called “Fast and Furious.” In all, about 2,000 guns were allowed to “walk” out of federal control or monitoring, and most of them ended up in the hands of criminals in Mexico. Two of those guns were subsequently found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. It has since been discovered that this was not the only gunwalking operation ATF has run in the past several years.
After the Reeses were arrested, U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales declared, “Those who sell firearms knowing that they will be illegally smuggled into Mexico to arm Mexican cartels share responsibility for the violence that has been devastating Mexico.”
Gonzales continued, “This case serves to put firearms dealers on notice that they will be held accountable for any failure to comply with federal firearms laws.”
Observers who have been following the “Fast and Furious” debacle, which has led to a contempt of Congress charge against Attorney General Eric Holder – yet led to no serious personnel actions against those responsible, much less criminal charges – marveled that U.S. Attorney Gonzales could make that statement with a straight face.
Absent an accounting for “Fast and Furious,” aggressively going after gun dealers whose primary crimes appear to have been either paperwork errors or a lack of a psychic ability to read a buyer’s mind is an outrage.
It is not yet known whether the family members will be credited with time served, and the question of whether the property seized from them will ever be returned to them is still up in the air. The fact that they currently stand as convicted felons means that they cannot possess firearms or ammunition, much less run a gun shop. The family business is gone for the foreseeable future, and forever if the convictions are not overturned. The assets of the store are likely to be forfeited, so the family can’t even cover some of the legal expenses by selling out.
There is a provision in federal law specifically designed to protect gun dealers from having their inventory confiscated. That protection was included in the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act, or FOPA. The Reese family lawyers filed a motion for the trial judge to enforce those protections, but he rejected the motion pre-trial. He might allow it now that the trial is over.
One of the problems though is that much of the protection of the FOPA could be nullified by the Reeses’ convictions. The law requires that prosecutors specifically name each item being seized and identify specifically how it was being, or was intended to be, used in a crime. The act also specifically forbids forfeiture of firearms and inventory after a not guilty verdict. Whether some of that protection remains in light of the Reeses’ convictions is a question for the lawyers to hash through.
So Rick and Ryin Reese begin their 12th month in jail with a little relief and a dash of hope. Compared to what prosecutors were trying to do to them, one felony conviction may seem like a gift. Now the lawyers go to work on appeals and restoration of property, and the Reese family members wonder if they will be spending another Christmas apart.
Feds seize family’s guns, money
Reporting from FEMA Region IV; Florida, United States of America (BANKSTER Controlled)
- 08-10-2012, 04:15 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
In combination with F and F on being related to gov't conspiracy to back one cartel opposing another, this reeks of many unpleasant odors. Reverse discrimination a possibility, US Attorney Gonzales discriminationg possible, possibility of Reeses cooperation with F and F at request of the gov't, fear f reprisal if they told their story if co-opeation with gov't was involved. But for now it sends a mssage of no gus for Americans or the gov't will get you This jury stands embarraassed, in my opinion.
- 09-30-2012, 08:35 AM #3
POLICE STATE – WE'RE ALMOST THERE
Jeff Knox: There's no constitutional justification for 150,000 federal cops
September 27, 2012
During this heated election season, the politicians and the pundits banter back and forth about the economy, jobs and important social issues, with back-to-back TV commercials making claims and accusations followed immediately by the opposition’s counter-claims and counter-accusations. But in the midst of all of this political wrangling, the Obama administration’s war on gun owners – in the name of the war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on gun trafficking to Mexico and what used to be called the war on terror – rages on.
When I first wrote about the outrageous assault on the Reese family gun shop in Deming, N.M., I expressed concern that the case was apparently headed up by the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. My concern about this shift in policing has grown since that report as Homeland Security Investigations has become more and more prominent in reports of federal police actions.
Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, has quickly become one of the highest-profile federal police organizations in the U.S., competing with the FBI, DEA and ATF for attention and tax dollars. That statement is particularly disconcerting when you realize that there is no provision in the Constitution for any federal police force. The idea of federal police pursuing criminals and violently executing warrants upon the general citizenry would have been abhorrent to the framers. The fact that these agencies blatantly instigate and engage in all manner of illegal activities – such as money laundering, drug smuggling and weapons trafficking – as an “investigative technique” to try and catch criminals higher up in the criminal food chain, would be unthinkable to them.
There are currently more than 70 different federal law enforcement agencies employing over 120,000 officers with arrest and firearms authority, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics data for 2008. That’s an increase of nearly 30 percent between 2004 and 2008. If the trends have continued upward at a relatively steady rate, that would put the total number of federal law enforcement officers at somewhere between 135,000 and 145,000. That’s a pretty staggering number, especially when you consider that there are only an estimated 765,000 state and local law enforcement officers. That means that about one in seven law enforcement officers in the country works directly for the federal government, not a local jurisdiction.
All without any constitutional authority for their existence.
Good arguments can be made for the existence of a dedicated border guard, and a case can be made for federal agencies to protect high-ranking officials, protect the federal currency and coordinate enforcement of laws regarding interstate commerce, etc. – but bureaucrats who inspect the records of retailers and manufacturers have no business carrying guns and badges, nor do those who investigate white-collar crime for the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.
The Founding Fathers feared the rise of a strong centralized government and especially feared a “standing army” under the control of such a centralized government. The impracticality of not having a standing army was quickly recognized and by the end of the War of 1812. A full-time federal fighting force was an excepted norm, though certain limits and precautions were put in place to ensure that this force would not be used to abuse the several states and the people. Most of those safeguards fell away, as did the concept of independent states loosely united under a compact of cooperation called the Constitution, during and after the Civil War.
While many believe that the Posse Comitatus Act protects the citizens from the ominous specter of the U.S. Army policing their streets, the widely misunderstood act offers no such protection. Posse Comitatus is the power of local authorities to conscript citizens to assist in a law enforcement action – i.e. the sheriff forming a posse to chase down bank robbers. What the Posse Comitatus Act does is prohibit local authorities from conscripting members of the military into their posse. It further instructed the Department of Defense to institute regulations prohibiting military personnel from engaging in law enforcement activities without the express authority of the Constitution or Congress. Since Congress has abdicated much of its authority over the military to the president, giving him wide discretion in employing the military, it would probably be legal for him to direct military forces to engage in law enforcement activities within the United States for a short duration – without declaring a state of emergency or officially declaring martial law – until Congress either backed him up or backed him down.
Debate over Posse Comitatus is made somewhat irrelevant, though, in light of the fact that there are nearly 150,000 armed federal agents who have virtual carte blanch and can now, in essence, conscript state and local police agencies to assist them in their actions.
When Homeland Security Investigations decided to stage an assault on the empty home and business ofRick and Terri Reese, they did so not only with dozens of federal agents, but with dozens and dozens of officers from state, local and county agencies – including helicopters and armored personnel carriers.
Now all of those participating agencies are standing with their hands out waiting for a federal judge to decide how much, if any, of the Reeses’ property will be returned to them and how much of it will be divvied up between federal and local agencies.
As federal power grows and state and local authority is subjugated, the U.S. is simply a matter of degrees away from the definition of a “police state.” The corruption of power is palpable.
Note: I had the opportunity recently to visit with Terri and Remington Reese and view the aftermath of the federal assault on their home and business. The condition of their shop was outrageous and heartbreaking. Most significant were the stacks of empty rifle boxes representing hundreds of brand new guns thrown unprotected into 50 gallon drums and hauled away.
It is unlikely that they will recover any of the guns or ammunition, and they are going to have to fight to recover the thousands of dollars worth of empty gun safes, vehicles, cash, jewelry, and the deed to their home and property.
Rick, Ryin and Terri are still awaiting sentencing, but the government is proceeding with forfeiture action based on the charges for which the family was acquitted.
Anyone wishing to help can send contributions to:
REESE DEFENSE FUND
ATTENTION Patricia Arias
First Savings Bank
520 South Gold
Deming, NM 88030