Telling the Stories of Federal Law Enforcement: National Law Enforcement Museum Receives Historically Significant Items from the IRS And ATF
Handguns used by Al Capone and IRS agent who brought him to justice included; also, motorcycle used by ATF agent in undercover operation against notorious gang
Washington, DC – When the National Law Enforcement Museum opens in late 2013, it will tell the fascinating stories of federal law enforcement in America – thanks, in part, to generous loans from two federal agencies that were announced today by the Museum.
The Internal Revenue Service is lending the Museum a number of historically significant items, including the .38-caliber, top break, 5 shot, pearl-handled handgun used by mobster Al Capone, as well as the Victor .32-caliber 5 shot of IRS Agent Michael Malone, who led the investigation that brought Capone to justice in 1931.
In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is lending the Museum the motorcycle used for over three decades by Undercover ATF agents while investigating the worst of the worst criminals across this country. From 1997 to 1999 ATF Agent Blake Boteler used the motorcycle to infiltrate the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle organization which ultimately led to the arrest of over 85 members and associates on weapons charges and drug trafficking charges in Colorado.
“Undercover operations such as those that took down Al Capone and the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle gang are seminal moments in American law enforcement history, illustrating the professionalism, courage and determination of our country’s federal law enforcement officers,” said Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the DC-based non-profit that is leading the creation of the Museum. “Now, through these objects, we will be able to tell these stories in ways that are compelling and educational. We are very grateful to the IRS and the ATF for sharing these objects with us, so that we in turn can share them with the American public through the National Law Enforcement Museum,” he added.
Special Agent Boteler was one of two undercover ATF agents who infiltrated the Sons of Silence outlaw motorcycle club, which trafficked illegal weapons and drugs in the Midwestern United States in the 1990s. On October 9, 1999, following a two-year investigation, over 85 Sons of Silence members and their associates were arrested on illegal weapons and drug trafficking charges. This investigation was significant for the number of violent criminals removed from the community, the unprecedented risks that the two ATF agents took by infiltrating this national organization and for the amount of firearms and narcotics that were either purchased or seized to include 126 firearms, 27 machineguns, 3 sawed-off shotguns, 5 silencers 4 hand grenades, 4 improvised explosive devices, over 25 pounds of methamphetamine, 13 motorcycles and 2 clubhouses.
“This motorcycle represents just one of the tools used in a two-year undercover investigation that took some of the country’s worst criminals off the streets,” explains ATF Deputy Director Kenneth E. Melson. “It’s an honor for all the men and women of ATF to have it displayed in the National Law Enforcement Museum so its story can be shared with everyone who visits the museum.”
IRS Agent Malone had infiltrated Al Capone’s gang and was able to collect financial information that ultimately led to Capone’s 1931 conviction for tax evasion, which sent the notorious mobster to prison for 11 years. The loan of Capone’s handgun complements an earlier acquisition by the Museum: a bullet-resistant vest that Capone wore as part of a suit.
In addition, the IRS is lending the Museum a number of historical badges worn by its agents involved in prohibition, narcotics, intelligence and other enforcement functions.
Laurie A. Baty, the Museum’s senior professional, said the IRS and ATF objects will be used in exhibits explaining the history of law enforcement in the United States and exploring the specialized work of many law enforcement professionals. “Every federal law enforcement agency has an important story to tell, and we are working hard to acquire the objects that will inform, enlighten, engage and inspire our visitors,” Ms. Baty said.
The IRS and ATF loans follow the announcement in July that the Museum has acquired from the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation more than 2,000 items from Mr. Hoover’s estate. These include his office desk, chair and telephone, presentation items, awards, photographs, correspondence, books, recordings of Mr. Hoover’s speeches and numerous other items that relate to his personal and professional life, specifically his tenure as director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972.
These objects will be available for viewing by appointment only at the National Law Enforcement Museum’s current collection facility in Forestville, MD, September 8-10, 2010. Ms. Baty, as well as IRS and ATF spokespersons, will be available for comment during these times.
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About the Museum
Authorized by Congress in the year 2000, the National Law Enforcement Museum is an architecturally inspiring, 55,000 square foot, mostly underground museum that will be located adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC’s Judiciary Square. The Museum will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibits, collections, research and education. Groundbreaking for the Museum will take place on October 14, 2010, with a projected opening in late 2013.
The Museum is an initiative of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a private non-profit [501(c)(3)] organization established in 1984 and dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers and to promoting officer safety. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, visit www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org.
Laurie Baty, NLEOMF
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