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Feb 20, 2014 5:48 PM by Michel Marizco

Judgement expected soon in Tucson agent's lawsuit against ATF

Closing arguments were made earlier this week in a high-profile but secretive lawsuit filed by a retired Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent against his former employer.

Jay Dobyns was an ATF agent for 27 years. As an undercover agent in ATF's Operation Black Biscuit, he infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang between 2001 and 2003. In 2008, his Tucson home was destroyed in a fire that appeared to be arson. Two months later, Dobyns filed suit against the Department of Justice and the ATF. Initially, he sought $4 million. The claim has risen to about $10 million since then.

Among the many allegations Dobyns has made: The ATF delayed investigating the fire.

"No one from the ATF showed up here at the fire for 36 hours," Dobyns said Wednesday. On his blog, Dobyns posted an Internal Affairs report that showed ATF officials in Phoenix also tried to pin blame for the fire on Dobyns after fire investigators had already cleared him.

The case has been sealed in federal court since 2010. Closing arguments were made Monday morning in Tucson and both sides await the judge's decision. The ATF has declined to comment on the case because of the pending litigation.

The suit is only one of the criticisms levied against ATF's Phoenix bureau. The ATF officials named in the suit, William Newell and George Gillett were also key figures in the flawed gunwalking program, Operation Fast and Furious. Newell, since moved to Washington, D.C., was one of the brainchilds behind Fast and Furious. The government-sanctioned operation was revealed after two Fast and Furious rifles, AK-47 variants, were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

Newell at the time denied his agency was letting guns be trafficked into Mexico. Since then, ATF has admitted to the gunwalking program and dismantled its Phoenix staff that created the operation. Gillett is currently under investigation by the Office of Inspector General. In January 2010, Gillett purchased a FN-57 semiautomatic pistol from a Phoenix gunstore. He lied about his address on the registration form. That gun turned up at the scene of a shootout between gangmembers and the Mexican military in the state of Sinaloa in November 2012. Among those killed in the shootout, Maria Susana Flores Gamez, a beauty queen crowned the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa.

As for Dobyns, whomever burned down his home has never been caught. He retired last January from the ATF and says he knows he may still be a target but said he doesn't fear gangmembers.

"To be honest with you, I'm more concerned with the Department of Justice and ATF attacks on me than I am from the Hells Angels," he said.

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