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UPDATE: Wis. agent: Colleagues improperly modified guns

UPDATED Thursday, February 6, 2014 --- 4:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Department of Justice records show a former agent accused his colleagues last year of illegally modifying their state-issued rifles.

The agency on Thursday released an email Dan Bethards sent to DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Dave Matthews in January 2013 alleging multiple DCI agents were shortening their rifle barrels without registering the weapons with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Bethards' email doesn't name any agents but he accuses DCI of not taking gun laws seriously.

A DOJ spokeswoman said the agency alerted BATF, which later found one weapon had been modified without a permit. The gun was reconfigured so it complied and no one was disciplined.

The agency fired Bethards in October after he accused his supervisor of selling guns without a federal license.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, December 6, 2013 --- 10:14 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Department of Workforce Development says Wisconsin's whistleblower law may have been violated when a special agent was fired after alleging that his boss was illegally making and selling guns.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Friday that DWD found that the Department of Justice may have violated the state's whistleblower law in disciplining and then firing Dan Bethards.

The DWD determined that two complaints lodged by Bethards should go to a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Bethards reported a year ago that Jay Smith, the head of the Division of Criminal Investigation's Superior office, was illegally making and selling guns to fellow law enforcement officers and possessed a stolen machine gun.

No charges were filed against Smith following a federal investigation.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, October 18, 2013 --- 9:07 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Justice Department has fired a drug agent who accused his former boss of illegally selling and manufacturing guns and possessing a stolen machine gun.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday the agency fired Dan Bethards on Oct. 10. Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John wrote in a termination letter Bethards' allegations were insincere and he failed to conduct himself honestly.

Bethards told the State Journal the letter was full of garbage and he can counter most of the allegations against him. He has filed three complaints with the state Department of Workforce Development claiming DOJ officials retaliated against him for making the accusations against Smith.

Bethards' allegations against Smith led to a federal investigation. Authorities declined to press charges against Smith in August.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 --- 7:38 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin Department of Justice agent accused of illegally selling and manufacturing weapons won't face criminal charges.

Assistant Attorney General Kevin Potter says the agency will now decide whether to launch an internal investigation into Jay Smith.

Potter made the comments Friday in a letter to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Smith was a supervisor in Superior when one of his agents reported he had been making and selling guns to other law officers without a federal permit. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been investigating Smith since December.

Potter's letter says the criminal investigation into Smith's activities is over, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota won't be filing charges.

Dan Bethards, the agent who accused Smith, declined comment when reached by The Associated Press.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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