Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Gun Trafficking Deal Gone Bad?

Oh no, not another conspiracy theory about the Las Vegas massacre...
The media, law enforcement, and Monday Morning QBs have been struggling with assigning "motive" to the event.

The NY Times presents an excellent surveillance aided video time-line.

Was he setting up for a music festival massacre?
Or were the music festivals convenient covers for an illicit transaction?
The gun-nut community seems to believe that Paddock was an international gun trafficker, and a successful one at that.
It fits the profile rather than typical deranged mass-shooter. Almost all mass-shooters demonstrate a pathology that lead them to acting on their "beliefs". Whether it is a terror plot to blow up a building because Allah said so, or someone looking to inflict mass casualties because of hatred for the in-crowd, there is always an assignable motive. The Austin Bomber will eventually turn out to have some bizarre rationale for his horrible actions.

It is the absence of motive and the lack of information of the shooter that is available.
I won't go into conspiracy theories that Israel sent in Mossad to make look like ISIS. I want to examine the available information and with some level of art, try to piece this together.

Illicit deals on a large scale will go down in places where lawlessness prevails.
Las Vegas was founded by the Mafia and they never left.

Using a casino to launder money is common and is part of the reason why the Mafia has been so prevalent where gambling is legal. While the Federal government is cracking down on money laundering, the people responsible for Ant-Money Laundering are most likely employed by the launderers.  Las Vegas motto: "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" is not just a coincidence. It was a Mafia code. The cops and security were/are all on "the payroll".

Paddock was a video poker millionaire. Really?

Based on his behavior, he was a successful gun trafficker. No record of straw purchases exist, but gun traffickers need not make "straw purchases" through an FFL to be successful.
Vegas and Chicago are a magnet for "wise-guys", wannabes, and up-and-comers in the underworld.
Locating procurers of illegal firearms, drugs, or human trafficking would not be difficult in these locales.
The physical "fencing" or trafficking would occur in neutral areas like the Ogden or even in hotel suites. The pick-ups and drop-offs could happen anywhere. The desert is a great place because there is no surveillance in the desert. Picking up a roll-away suitcase full of gun parts and ammo would take no more than a quick pit-stop. Same with doing a money drop in a designated area.

Why was he wiring funds to the Philippines? Unknown.

Large concerts or festivals would provide significant cover or distraction away from the locus of the deal. It appears that he was planning to meet with someone at either venue and ultimately settled for hotel. His trips to and from his residence were not necessarily stocking runs, but probably logistical work outs. He had no record of communicating ill intent  on whatever was registered to his name.
That does not mean he conveniently disposed of a "burner-phone" or two.

Something went wrong. He played video poker for hours, sat in empty bars biding his time. He was waiting for a signal and it was something he had done many times before. No need to behave like a noob and be on surveillance pacing or checking his watch. No furtive gestures or nervousness. He was cool because he had done this time and again. This was not the behavior of a man that was ready to commit mass murder.
But what drove him to fire volleys into a crowd from hundreds of yards away?

The deal went sour and perhaps he figured out he was being set-up. My gut says that this case is being spiked either from the underworld or the Feds.


Tom said...

Meh. It's as likely as anything else I suppose, but all he had was a couple of thousand dollars worth of guns. Yes, I know ... he had an ARSENAL! I read it in the Times. Well I have an 'arsenal' considerably larger than that and unless I'm mistaken, so do you. You know it's not uncommon.

"International gun trafficker' sounds to me like a guy who does bigger deals than that. I'm not saying it isn't true, I have no knowledge that everyone else doesn't. But it seems a little early to declare him a gun running mastermind with such certainty.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how many guns he had with him. We are told at least seven. whether he was running guns or other illicit exchanges, we will never know. He does not fit the profile of a mass murderer, but that could be an outlier.

Tom said...

Definitely not saying you're wrong. Just seems early to call to me. (And I had WAY more than seven guns... right up until the canoe tipped over.)