Nick Gillespie
Reason
December 9, 2013

ATF_LogoIf you thought the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) couldn’t stoop any lower, you’d be wrong. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the agency responsible for setting off the events that led to Waco and were at the center of the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal are using mentally disabled teenagers to advertise businessess that are actually fronts for ATF sting operations.

The Journal Sentinel’s expose leads with the tale of Aaron Key, a 19-year-old stoner whose mind is not quite all there. The ower of a head shop in Portland, Oregon, befriended Key and his friends online and then paid them to get neck tattoos advertising “Squid’s Smoke Shop.”

He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.

So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.

It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.

The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.

The teens found out as they were arrested and booked into jail.

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