USA –-(Ammoland.com)- Documents made available to Gun Rights Examiner this week from a source close to the case of FBI agent John Shipley, convicted of dealing in firearms without a license, bolster defense claims that he was merely an active collector, and further reveal evidence of guns being smuggled to Mexico following ATF-directed deals by suspects under extended surveillance. A mysterious receipt for a gun sale to a Mexican resident, reports of investigation that include suspect interviews, trial transcripts, government press releases, Mexico weapons recovery pictures and the indictment of a trafficking suspect all lend credible support to concerns that the government itself engaged in wrongdoing.
The volume of documents and the many dimensions they contain preclude effectively presenting and analyzing their contents in one report, so they will be broken down into a series of exclusive installments to be presented in this column for the remainder of the week.
By way of background, Shipley first came to this column’s attention when a gun he sold to a former El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy turned up at a Mexican crime scene. It soon became evident from a source close to this correspondent there was more to the story than what the government was claiming and the media was reporting. Shipley maintained he was a collector. The government charged him with being a dealer. Despite there being no firm-fixed standards to ensure consistent application of the rules, the jury sided with the government. Shipley and his family continued their fight to clear his name. And in an unbelievable development, a full day of testimony affecting the appeal and in the custody of the court was “lost.”
Accompanying this article in the above photo (sent to Gun Rights Examiner as “Document #1 Barrett Receipt”) is a scan of an interesting document. It is a receipt for the rifle that Shipley sold to former deputy Armando Rodriguez, who in turn sold the gun to a suspect under surveillance by ATF for firearms trafficking.
“This is a photocopied receipt of sale for Barrett #20488 that was recovered in Mexico,” the source told Gun Rights Examiner, indicating the sale took place on the premises of Collector’s Gun Exchange, a business that was cooperating with ATF, to one Jonatan Lopez Gutierrez on 12/19/07.” [Note: Documents to be presented in this series suggest that Federal Firearms Licensee’s involvement in the sale setup and receipt/money forwarding, but the actual physical handing over of the gun to Lopez was reportedly conducted in the store parking lot by a different individual. It must be pointed out, as the role of Collector’s Gun Exchange is part of the public record and trial testimony, that no allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the business are being alleged or implied. Quite the opposite, the documentation shows a dealer attempting, as all are expected and often pressured to do, of cooperating in good faith with government investigators, and of following directions and reporting activities they had every reason to believe would assist in stopping dangerous criminals.]
“The ‘Item # 207’in the upper right-hand corner was written on the receipt by the ATF on 6/4/08 as detailed on Document #2 [see below], page 3, paragraph #14,” the source explained. “This document was given to Rodriguez (deputy who put the gun on consignment with Collector’s Gun Exchange) after… the Barrett [was sold] to Lopez as detailed in Document #2, page 4, paragraph #29.”
Look closely at the photo accompanying this article and note something very strange indeed.
“The address on Lopez’s license is in Juarez, Mexico,” the source pointed out. “It is illegal to sell a firearm to a resident of Mexico. [The] FFL would not [participate in the sale of] a firearm to a non-immigrant unless it was done with the permission of the ATF to further an ongoing investigation.
“The writing ‘Barrett Mod 82A1 Ser. # 20488’ is [the FFL’s] writing,” the source continued, although another source informed Gun Rights Examiner late this afternoon that the FFL denies it is his writing. “This directly ties [him] to the sale of the Barrett to a suspected Mexican gun trafficker that was under ATF investigation and surveillance. The sale to Lopez is also corroborated by Rodriguez’s statement (Doc. #2, page #4, paragraph #29) and Lopez’s statement [to be presented in a later installment of this series].”
So what is “Document #2”?
It’s the ATF’s Report of Investigation (ROI) (click to read) for their June 4, 2008 interview with Armando Rodriguez, documenting both what he told them and what they found executing the search warrant on his home, specifically of note to this story, the Barrett rifle sales receipt to Lopez.
“Page 3, Paragraph #14 refers to ATF’s recovery of Item #207,” the source explains, identifying it as that receipt.
“Page 4, paragraph #29 is where Rodriguez tells the ATF that he put Barrett # 20488 on consignment at [Collector’s Gun Exchange]. After [it was] sold it to Lopez, Rodriguez got the money and receipt from [the FFL].”
This story will be continued tomorrow on Gun Rights Examiner with corroborating trial testimony and more.
UPDATE: See next installment, “Documents confirm ATF surveillance in U.S. before gun found in Mexico.”
About David Codrea
David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at www.DavidCodrea.com.