Monday, May 7, 2012

Extra Tourists This Summer In Philly

If the scuttlebutt is correct on, the City of Philadelphia will be getting some extra visitors this summer from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It seems that the ATF will be surging 20-30 agents into Philly for 120 days in an effort to tamp down violent crime. They could also be doing similar surges in Detroit, St. Louis, and Oakland.  VCA or Violent Crime Agency is a snide reference to the ATF and how they formerly called themselves the DOJ's "violent crime agency". The post by "FUBAR" is below.
The latest with the "mobile" Violent Crime Agency:

Here in Philly, we're getting "surge" detail of 20-30 agents for 120days -- June 4 through October 1 or so.

Mayor Nutter went to AG Holder and told him that Obama needs to win PA to get re-elected. The only way Obama can win PA is to get out the vote out in Philly and the only way he'll get it is if something is done with the rampant everyday violence here. Holder called in the FBI and the VCA and basically, the FBI ignored Holder. VCA jumped all over it since it fits in with B Todd's vision.

Agents from around the country have already received notification of the detail. An "advance" team of bosses and Intel people are in town already, identifying home invasion rings and Hobbs Act robbers so that when the detail agents get here, there will be targets for them.

Dare I note, if these targets already exist, why hasn't anything been done yet? Why are we waiting? Well, I think that's due to the fact that the USAO declines everything left and right, EVEN FBI cases. And who runs the violent crime section here in the Philly USAO? Kathy Stark -- Tony Tropea's old friend [more on him later].

Besides bringing in agents from out of town [let's see, travel, per diem, hotel---what will that cost?] -- and let's not wonder, for now, what will happen to their cases Back Home -- the Philly groups all have to give up a couple of agents for this surge.

The group made out of the out-of-towners will be run by PIO Steve Bartholemew. It's the second time in his brief tenure as Philly PIO that he's been made an Acting RAC. A little background on Steve -- he worked Philly HIDTA with Tony Tropea under Sam Rabadi. The three of them got transferred to Trenton when one of their cases got screwed up. Tropea cried like a little bitch when he got transferred -- tough Philly boy that he is. He's gotten to spend his whole career in his home town and has a sense of entitlement that he deserves to get promoted without transferring. But I digress -- Tony cried that he couldn't do cases in Trenton [only 30 miles north of Philly] because he HAD NO LOCAL CONTACTS. He got back to Philly within weeks. Steve stayed in Trenton; Rabadi made it back to Philly as ASAC when Stankiewicz literally got caught trying to pull down his pants on Intel GS Jill Tucker during the Coatesville Serial Arson case [the same case which made national headlines].

Steve went on and passed the -14 AC. The Trenton RAC slot opened when Rabadi went to Philly, so Steve thought the job was for his taking. However, Mat Horace gave it to Kent Montford. Steve got upset and wanted an explanation from Horace, who told him he didn't have the breadth of experience [I paraphrase -- I don't think Horace knows the meaning of breadth except maybe the lisping plural of bread?] So, Rabadi and Tropea, who had Philly SAC Mark "Cadillac" Potter's ear, got Steve transferred into Philly as the **new** PIO [even though Philly hadn't had the need for a PIO for two years] in exchange for our Philly based FIC [we now have an FIC who works 70 miles away in Reading].

Almost immediately upon his arrival in Philly, Steve was made acting GS of Tropea's group, the band of merry thugs, while Tropea was anointed acting ASAC, replacing Russ May. This being the same Tropea who has worked his whole career in one city doing only HIDTA cases.. This, in the same city in which we have two GS's with HQ experience, both of which has actually passed the GS-15 AC. Steve then got to work as a GS for almost a year. He went "back" to PIO back in January, but five months later, he's given another group to run.

As for the local agents tasked for this surge, they will work in an "expanded" Tropea "super" group. This detail will work 0900 to 1700 [and I know exactly who will get those easy hours since Tropea's group is known for "owning the late afternoon" --whereas the NYPD Street Crime Unit "owns the night"] and noon to 2200 or so. I don't know who responds to those shootings after 2200 which seem to be the plurality here.

From a separate source, I hear that a surge is also planned for Detroit [Madea should get a kick out of that], St Louis and Oakland. How much money are we going to spend on details when it could be used to actually hire agents?

Yes, the new mobile Violent Crime Agency. It's just that arson and explosives aren't considered violent any more.
The Special Agent in Charge of the Philadephia Field Division is Sheree Mixell. In her former job, she was the Chief of the Office of Public Affairs where she served as ATF's national spokesperson. This would seem to me the ideal place to run such a surge if you wanted to get the most media attention possible and to have someone experienced in dealing with the press. As to doing it for political purposes to help Mayor Nutter and President Obama, that does disturb me. Moreover, having these teams run by a Public Information Officer just doesn't pass the smell test.

While the webmaster of CleanUpATF has since redacted some of the information with respect to the cities involved, I happened to see it before he did that. Nonetheless, it is not hard to figure out that it is Philadelphia.

(A quick translation of some of the acronyms above - RAC is the Resident Agent in Charge, GS is a Group Supervisor, HIDTA is high intensity drug trafficking area and PIO is Public Information Officer.)


  1. "They could also be doing similar surges in Detroit"

    They would get their asses handed to them.


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  3. So do home invasion rings fall under alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or explosives?