Chief Judge Says “It Is Time For These False Stash House Cases to End” in Federal Criminal Justice Clinic’s Landmark Litigation

Federal judge finds ATF drug stash house stings distasteful but not racially biased

In a decision with potentially national consequences, the chief federal judge in Chicago ruled Monday that the controversial drug stash house stings run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have an ugly racial component and should be discontinued.

“These ... cases have served to undermine legitimate law enforcement efforts in this country,” U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo said from the bench. “It is time for these false stash house cases to end and be relegated to the dark corridors of our past.”

Despite finding that the operations were “tinged with racial overtones,” however, Castillo “reluctantly” declined to dismiss the charges against the eight defendants whose cases he is overseeing, writing in a 73-page opinion that they fell short of proving the stings unfairly targeted blacks and Hispanics.

“Fortunately for the government, the question before this court is not whether the practices used in these sting operations are honorable or fair,” Castillo wrote.

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