By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
February 18, 2010
This one falls into the category of “what the hell’s goin’ on around here?” The BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) raided Nashville-based firearms manufacturer and military defense contractor Sabre Defence, yesterday. According to reports, the BATFE has been investigating claims that Sabre Defence employees have been selling guns illegally. It’s being reported that the company has stated that some of its employees involved in inventory control “may have obtained and re-sold some items without appropriate licenses.” Sabre Defence hasn’t specified which weapon models are involved. the Nashville Post reports that “after almost all of the employees had left the premises, agents brought in a trailer and backed it up to the company’s loading dock.”
Sabre Defence’s major military claims to fame are its M16A3 / M16A4 rifle contract(s) and M2HB “Ma Deuce” .50 BMG machine gun components, including barrels. Sabre Defence is also well-known for producing high-quality AR-15 carbines for the commercial and law enforcement markets. As it happens, DefenseReview got a chance to view some of Sabre’s latest offerings, including their gas piston/op-rod AR carbine with lo-pro gas block. The new model utilizes a special Sabre-spec’d version of the Adams Arms Retrofit Gas Piston System (RGPS). The gun we saw looked good, which wasn’t surprising, since Sabre Defence is known for making quality firearms and firearm components and parts. Defense Review shot some photos of the Sabre Gas Piston Rifle, and we’ll be publishing them in an upcoming article, soon, so stay tuned.
Jim Cavanaugh, BATFE’s SAC (Special Agent in Charge) for the Nashville field division, appears to be a point of contact for the media/press. History buffs may remember Mr. Cavanaugh from his involvement in BATFE’s Waco Siege fiasco in early 1993, which resulted in the tragic and unnecessary deaths of 80+ people, including more than 20 children–and 4 BATFE agents/assaulters. The Sipsey Street Irregulars blog is referring to Mr. Cavanaugh as “Waco Jim” and to the BATFE as “F Troop“.
The Sabre Defence raid comes on the heals of another high-profile firearms industry bust. Last month during SHOT Show 2010, Smith & Wesson (S&W) had a little run-in with the law, specifically the FBI, when one of its sales executives was arrested in a sting operation resulting from a two-and-a-half-year FBI investigation. In the sting, an FBI special agent posed as an African defense minister.
Twenty-two people, including a Secret Service agent and the aforementioned S&W executive, were arrested on bribery charges in the sting. The defendents were accused in 16 separate indictments, and the specific charges were, according to Reuters, “violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conspiracy to violate the FCPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering tied to the sale of guns, body armor and other equipment.”
Interestingly, Reuters now reports that the FBI has run into a judicial obstacle. A federal judge has “cast doubt on the U.S. government’s assertion that 22 people were part of a single conspiracy when they allegedly tried to bribe someone they believed to be an African defense minister.”
“I read all 16 indictments and I didn’t see it,” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said during a hearing on Wednesday. “I have zero sense that there was an omnibus grand conspiracy.”
Stay tuned, and check back in for updates to this story!