Busted…with the Help of IAFIS and NICS

April 9, 2014
Originally published in the April 2014 edition of the CJIS Link, Volume 16, Number 1

On January 15, the Special Processing Center (SPC) of the CJIS Division’s Biometric Services Section (BSS) received a fingerprint submission from the FBI Resident Agency in Bozeman, Montana. The submission included a request for the fingerprints to be searched though the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) to confirm the subject’s identity. SPC employees logged and scanned the fingerprints into the SPC and IAFIS databases and identified the subject as an FBI fugitive wanted by the Portland Field Office since October 9, 1998, on charges of flight to avoid prosecution for rape, sexual abuse, and sodomy. Because the subject was a Bureau fugitive, the request was sent to the Answer Hits to Wants (AHTW) team to clear the want. A response was generated to the Special Agent in Bozeman within 37 minutes, enabling the FBI to quickly process and arrest a dangerous felon.

On January 31, a legal instrument examiner with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Section processed a transaction for a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), a pawn shop in Pleasanton, Texas, for the redemption of a long gun. The NICS examiner identified warrants in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for the potential purchaser. The warrants were issued by Atascosa County, Texas, for forgery—financial instrument and evading arrest/detention with a vehicle. The NICS examiner contacted the wanting agency to confirm the status of the warrants. The wanting agency advised that the warrants were active and immediately dispatched an officer regarding the felony warrant. Twenty-three minutes later, the NICS examiner received confirmation from the wanting agency that the individual had been arrested and was in custody. The FFL was advised of the denied status.

On February 24, a legal instruments examiner with the NICS Section processed a transaction for an FFL, a pawn shop in Jonesboro, Georgia, for the purchase of a handgun. The examiner identified a warrant in the NCIC as well as a Georgia State record with descriptive data matching the attempting purchaser. A cursory review of the Georgia State record showed arrests for purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution, or sale of marijuana—felony; unlawful manufacture, distribute, possess with intent to distribute imitation controlled substances; disorderly conduct; and a disqualifying December 2013 conviction for misdemeanor marijuana—possess less than one ounce. The NCIC record contained a warrant from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office, Decatur, Georgia, for murder/homicide, which had been issued the day before the attempted purchase. Upon calling the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office to verify the status of the warrant, the examiner was told the warrant was active and the agency was interested in apprehending the individual. Based on the active warrant along with the drug conviction within the last year, the examiner provided the FFL with a denied status. The examiner forwarded all applicable information regarding the attempted purchase and purchaser to the wanting agency. A follow-up call to the involved agencies revealed that the subject’s warrant was a result of a fatal shooting at a local nightclub which occurred early in the morning on February 23. Confirmation was received that the individual was arrested on Tuesday, February 25, as a result of the examiner’s contact with the wanting agency and that the subject’s Georgia State record had been updated with the murder arrest.