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May 01, 2013 05:55 PM

Sequester Impacts ATF Rally Presence

Sequester cuts are detouring travel plans for a federal law enforcement agency that investigates gun crimes committed during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. A shrinking travel budget means agents from the Sioux Falls office will be no-shows at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

"We've always been a strong supporter of supporting that rally with our presence both from an investigative and intelligence-gathering perspective and this year, we offer nothing," ATF Sioux Falls Field Office Agent-In-Charge Bob Boland said.

ATF has had as many as 20 agents at a time attend past rallies.

"A lot of times it depends on some of the intelligence that we have going into the event.  If we know there might be trouble, that sometimes dictates the kind of resources we try to have," Boland said.

One of the ATF's main rally duties is helping track outlaw motorcycle clubs.

"They have historically attended the Sturgis Rally and in fact, almost every year, they are involved with some type of crime at some level," Boland said.

Other law enforcement agencies that work the rally will have to carry-on without the ATF's help this year.  But Boland says the bureau's absence will create a crime-fighting void this summer.

"We want to be out there.  We want to be with our partners in dealing with those issues.  So, it does impact public safety at some level," Boland said.

The only ATF presence at this year's rally will be from the Rapid City satellite office.  Boland says that lone agent will be available only on an "as-needed' basis.
    
In a memo released last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said no ATF or FBI agents will be furloughed during the sequester.

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