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Inter Ordnance of America, LP
3305 Westwood Industrial Dr., Monroe, NC 28110
Phone (704) 225 8843, Fax (704) 225 8895
October 25, 2004
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President.
Our company imports firearms; ammunition and gun parts and we sell to licensed dealers, wholesalers, distributors and individuals all over the US. We are also members of the FAIR Trade Group (an importers’ association) and the NRA.
Our company and its principals were under investigation for 2½ years and, in February 2004, were indicted for importing "machine guns". I am now asking for your help or intercession and I want to tell you new facts about the criminal enforcement division of the ATF and the US-Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
We had a good relationship with the BATFE in the past and also aided them in importing a firearm from the British Government. This all changed in the fall of 2001. We were expecting a shipment of deactivated rifle parts kits from Malaysia. After they reached our shores, we were informed that there was a problem with the kits. We were never told the reason for the problem or shown actual pictures of the entire shipment.
On December 4th 2001, over 50 agents of the BATFE and US Customs raided our company. The search took two days and, in the end, two tractor-trailer loads of merchandise were taken from our warehouse. This merchandise was legally imported with all BATFE-approved permits and had been through Customs examination as well. The same merchandise such as was taken from us was and still is being sold by other importers. This is the same item, the same foreign vendor and the same method of destruction.
After hearing nothing for nearly a year, our attorneys advised us to file a lawsuit against the BATFE for them to give us our merchandise back. A second and third search, which took place in February 2003 and March 2003, was the Government’s response. In February the BATFE took 140 pallet-size steel crates of which most of the parts were imported in 1997 and 2000 with all BATFE-approved permits and extensive Customs examination at the port of entry. Firearms experts from Washington, DC inspected all kits and parts during their two-day search in December 2001 and found nothing wrong with them.
I would like to mention here that all our firearms, ammunition and parts are imported with valid BATFE-approved import permits and that each shipment prior to release to us is inspected by Customs and usually also by the BATFE.
Also it is important to mention that the first search warrant was acquired through the false statements of the investigating agents. The firearms report regarding the parts imported from Malaysia mentioned that they were neither firearms nor machine guns. This was also the case in regards to the second search warrant since the BATFE experts had already inspected the parts during their first search in 2001. After we had filed our lawsuit against BATFE, BATFE made three more reports for the various kits taken from us during the first search. Firearms experts at BATFE added, manufactured and replaced enough parts so that they finally could get a few shots out of the barrels in a desperate yet failed attempt to "prove" that the parts were, in fact, machine guns.
Although it is not allowed to compile or maintain a list of gun owners, the BATFE has, on more than one occasion, seized our customer list. They have harassed hundreds if not thousands of our customers for legally purchasing legally imported parts. Further, through veiled threats and intimidation, agents have coerced customers to "voluntarily" surrender their property, thereby leaving them with no recourse to claim this unjustified loss against the Government.
We took this matter up with the NRA who talked to some people at the DOJ but were told that the DOJ did not want to interfere in this matter.
The trial date has been set for April 2005. BATFE is trying to disturb our business wherever it can even though we have the constitutional right to continue our business while under indictment. They are delaying our import permits, disapproving permits that had been approved earlier since 2001 and not responding to questions. Despite this, we have approached BATFE individually and through our importing association (FAIR) to ask for their aid to the importing community.
In the end, BATFE started to put together an importers’ handbook with the help of the industry. Also the industry has asked BATFE to host importer conferences for a better understanding of certain complicated subjects. This was finally taken care of, too.
In our own defense, we have hired very qualified firearms experts who used to work for the DOD as well as a firearms manufacturer who supplies firearms to our Special Forces.
Every person who has taken a closer look into this matter and at the actual parts in question is disgusted with BATF’s actions against us.
The three different firearms expert reports clearly state that all parts in question are compliant with all Federal Laws and regulations and can be supplied to you at your request.
If BATFE were not happy with some methods of deactivation, it normally would have been an informal, administrative act to have us perform additional modifications in a bonded warehouse. Had we been asked, we would have been happy to comply. Instead, the agency applied the full force of its criminal enforcement apparatus against us.
Please find some pictures of the parts kits enclosed and also pictures of BATF’s "machine gun" cable-tie projects.
On August 30th our legal team filed a set of twelve pretrial motions.
The response of the government was a superceding indictment in which they dropped three of the four types of "machine gun" charges. All of charges dropped were the types of "machine gun parts kits" for which ATF initially raided our company in December 2001.
So the initial search warrant was acquired through false statements and lies to the Judge.
Now the US Attorney’s office indicted us for one type of "machine gun parts kits" which were inspected by three firearms experts of the BATFE during their two-and a Half-Day search in December 2001 and were found compliant. Further we would like to mention that most of the parts in question were imported in 1997 and passed extensive exam by the US Customs Service.
Although the government dropped the charges for the three types of parts kits, they still did not return our property and are not planning to return our property. Due to the 3 years of unjustified harassment and abuse of power we are now in a financial situation of hardship.
We originally had 20 employees. Now we are down to 8 and probably have to let more people go if no one intervenes and put a stop to this selective and vindictive prosecution.
In the last three years we had to spend $1,000.000.00 in legal fees and the government took legal merchandise from our inventory of a value of $1,500.000.00.
If you have any questions and if you would like to see the evidence, discovery, etc, I am sure that our legal team would be more than happy to share these documents with you.
We have Dr. Stephen Holbrook one of the NRA attorney’s on our legal team and practices right outside DC. Due to our excellent international contacts and sources for material, we became on July 13th a registered US defense contractor and are aiding our government in the war against terror.
We won some tenders with General Dynamics for supplying the US Army security assistance command. (USASEC). As you see, this issue has already become a matter of national security and in order to serve our country right these false allegations have to be overcome immediately.
These false allegations have also proven a problem in our current banking relationships.
The US Attorney’s office made it impossible for us to do international wire transfers to pay for our merchandise thanks to a flag, they have put in the international banking database.
In addition to this they have destroyed our banking relationship with our former bank, (Wachovia) which has called the mortgage for our building and the line of credit.
As I mentioned above, I am now asking for help. We have been unable to travel overseas since February 5th 2004 due to the false indictment. Traveling and inspecting merchandise is the backbone of our business. I am asking you to check up on BATFE, the US Attorney’s office and its policies. Thousands of legal firearms owners are fed up with BATFE and its enforcement policies. BATFE claims to make our neighborhoods safer. Unfortunately this is not the truth. It goes after law-abiding importers and tries to shut them down for no reason other than to justify its own existence.
One last thing. Our fully licensed manufacturing company WWW-USA, LLC, which is located at the same address as Interordnance of America LP and is not indicted, was up for a license renewal last year in August. We have sent in the paperwork along with the fee to ATF on June 11 2003.
Till this day we have not received an extension letter or a renewed license.
We have called dozens of times, sent letters, e-mails but never have heard a word from the licensing center in Atlanta. Please look into this matter as well.
I grew up in post-war West Germany and was raised with strong family ties and values. Also we learned in school about America and its freedom and justice. I have been living in this country since 1996 and was living the great America values and the American Dream. We created a small business with 15 to 20 employees and pay our taxes. In fact, we overpaid our Federal Excise Taxes from 1999-2002 by $50,000.00 and are still waiting on the refund. We are a part of this community. I have a wife and two children and the investigation and indictment has put us under indescribable stress and hardship.
America became my home of choice and it is difficult to understand how, for no reason, Government agencies can run wild and destroy the lives of innocent people.
Mr. President, thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Ulrich H Wiegand
Best we know, this never received any response!