ATF field office in Yuma now staffed by El Centro agents
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) says rumors that the Yuma field office has closed are inaccurate. However, the ATF field office in Yuma is now being staffed by agents from another nearby field office in California.
ATF special agent Thomas Mangan, spokesman for the Phoenix field office, explained that the agency, due to the lack of cases in the area and its limited resources, made the decision to reassign the three agents it had in Yuma to another “busier” office.
“We haven't closed anything. It is completely inaccurate to say our office there has been closed. It has not,” Mangan said. “The bottom line is the Yuma field office is open and there are ATF resources there. We haven't skipped a beat or lost anything.”
The ATF opened the Yuma field office, which is located at 2270 S. Ridgeview Dr., Suite 202, about two and a half years ago during Project Gunrunner, an operation intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico and deprive the Mexican drug cartels of weapons.
Mangan said a majority of the investigations into gun trafficking cases that originated in Yuma were leading back to Maricopa County, where a majority of the guns involved in those cases were actually being purchased, so the cases were eventually handed over to Phoenix agents.
He said that because the ATF is underfunded, the decision was made to reallocate the Yuma field office agents to the Phoenix field office and reassign them to other investigative groups within the division, where they could be put to better use.
As for the Yuma field office, Mangan said it is now covered by ATF agents from El Centro, which has a field office that is heavily staffed and has agents to spare.
Mangan said the El Centro agents who are now staffing the Yuma field office actually live in Yuma and will be able to handle the investigations into cases here when needed.
While the ATF has closed its office in Reno, Nev., because the U.S. attorney's office there was not prosecuting cases brought to them by local ATF agents, Mangan said it has nothing to do with what happened in Yuma.
Mangan said that he wanted to stress that the ATF has a good relationship with all law enforcement in the Yuma area and the Yuma County Attorney's Office.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter at @YSJamesGilbert.