After Agent Valles reviewed his case file, Valles stated that a tape of the phone call was in his file, however, he had made a report, not a transcript.
Defense Attorney Brad Hall stood up and announce his office had made the transcript.
Attorney Bowles continued with his cross-examination and asked him again if he recalled that Penny Torres did not want to be arrested. He stated it wasn’t in his report, however, he recalls the conversation, and claimed that if they had wanted to arrest her, they would have already. She wasn’t arrested.
During questioning, it was learned that AK’s and AR’s use different caliber ammunition, however ARs can be converted to shoot AK type ammo and Valles knows they can be converted. There are over 75 million (of what not heard) manufactured every year, and over 100 million knock offs per year (possibly the AKs). S/A Valles didn’t know that.
Valles was asked if Terri hold him about a white truck, and he responded she didn’t say, but Rem saw a truck with AZ plates. They pursued the lead, but never located a truck matching that description.
Valles confirmed that Torres never made an additional purchases after her name was entered into the NIC system.
Defense Attorney Pete Dominici Jr. cross-examined Agent Valles next. He asked if to his knowledge if ATF is responsible for inspections….. The prosecutor objected to the question, however, the Judge ovveruled and allowed the questioning to continue. He testified ATF doesn’t conduct compliance inspections, the other branch, I.O.I. conducts those. When asked if IOI employee scheduled, he stated yes, and possibly someone from IOI would testify. He admitted he had communicated with IOI and he reviewed their records and discussed their inspection results with them.
Valles testified that IOI had conducted an inspection of New Deal from September 8, 2010 thru September 15, 2010. (This was shortly after Terri Reese reported Penny Torres as a potential straw purchaser.) He admitted he had reviewed the inspection report sometime after he first spoke to Terri, but before he interviewed Rick a month later, and after a phone conversation with Penny Torres.
Valles explained that he only reviews these kind of reports if an FFL is under investigation, or if IOI has referred it to ATF for criminal investigation. When asked how often this occurs, he replied, “Seldom.” He testified this is the only FFL he has investigated.
Valles admitted this 09-08-10 thru 09-15-10 was an on-site inspection and that he was aware there were a lot of agents on site, and this occurred in the same time frame as he went to interview Terri. He spoke with the IOI agents much later, and he didn’t ask about the usual business practices at New Deal. He stated there was no reason to because ND was not a target at that time. He stated New Deal became a target after January 27, 2011. At the time the decision was made to target New Deal, Valles reviewed the IOI inspection report and doesn’t recall if he spoke with the OIO investigators.
When asked if he was aware at that inspection there were NO VIOLATIONS he replied he was aware of it.
He was aware that 703 ATF 4473 forms were reviewed during the inspection, including the 4473 forms that Penny Torres had signed.
When Attorney Dominici asked Agent Valles if he was aware that the purpose of the inspection was to look for suspicious or prohibited sales, and the officers sat inside the store for 8 days, that they found NONE, Agent Valles retorted, “That’s their assessment.”
Valles stated he didn’t know the exact procedures IOI uses during their inspections. He stated by the time he reviewed the (results of the inspection) report, they had alreaday moved forward with the decision to continue investigating New Deal. He admitted he could have talked to the IOI agents, but didn’t talk to them at this point.
Valles admitted that yes, people sometimes coming into weapons stores in groups to look to purchase, and he has been in gun stores when groups come in to purchase a gun.
I didn’t hear his answer when he was asked if he understood that a more knowledgeable person typically engages in negotiations with a group of people.
Valles admitted that is is aware that HSI lead case agent is not experienced in ATF regulations or compliance. Valles admitted he is not an expert in business practices.
He admitted he is the most knowledgeable of FFL regulations, but doesn’t have any expertise in FFL business practices.
When asked if he was aware the basis to start the investigation against New Deal was based on two phone calls made by Roman to New Deal, he replied no, and he hadn’t heard the testimony. However, he admitted he was present during those two phone calls, and characterized them as a shot in the dark.
S/A Valles admitted there is nothing improper or illegal about an FFL contacting a person who purchased a weapon. [This was in reference to an allegation that Terri called Penny about the recovered weapon fax; although in other testimony it may be that Terri called Roman about this fax.] S/A Valles however protested that Penny Torres was not the buyer, and that is incorrect.
S/A Valles admitted that the fax on the recovered weapon does not indicate where a weapons is recovered from, and that an FFL would not know where a weapon was recovered.
When asked again, if there was anything improper or illegal about contacting a buyer of a weapon, Agent Valles replied that there is nothing illegal and it is up to the discretion of the FFL. He stated nothing prohibits an FFL from calling a purchaser.
When asked again, he clarified again that there was nothing on the fax that would indicate the weapon was recovered in Mexico.
Defense Attorney Gorence’s cross examination of this agent is in the next post………….