Affidavit for a Search Warrant
Introduction and Information Background
According to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and given the obtained information concerning a probable criminal offense, this affidavit is made to authorize the search of the property of the named subject for further evidence. The law enforcement authority has not accessed any material evidence to prosecute the named subject Pete Tommy Gunne about criminal use of stolen identities and the facilitation of obstruction of justice by way of destroying the evidence of a criminal offense.
The affidavit is being made in my capacity as an officer with the Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigation. With a five-year experience as an investigation officer, my work role has mostly been about the investigation of criminal, civil, and administrative offenses in the country, domestic and foreign investigation of crimes, and serving as a consultant to several criminal investigation agencies in the country. My background is criminal training in the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and I have worked with state and private agencies for cybersecurity to enforce the existing laws. I have also had training in electronic and social media investigations besides my educational background in information science with a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
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Given the training and my job description, I have the authority under Title 18 U.S.C. Sections 2332(a), 11 14, and 15 12(a) (2) to investigate cybercrimes such as the one Mr. Pete Tommy Gunne is accused of having committed. The affidavit is respectfully submitted in support of the request for a search warrant to search the GMU Building 1and Room No. 39 under domestic criminal search warrant as stipulated in Rule 41 (b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Pete Tommy Gunne is a resident of GMU Building 1and Room No. 39. He is a single man who lives alone and occasionally travels to different cities across the country. Gunness’s residence has two doors, a front door, and a back door, as well as large windows at the back of the house. The front door is normally shut with an exterior storm door. The backside windows have no railings and the room is located on the ground from the GMU Building. The search will encompass all rooms inside the house and the uninhabited structure located in the backyard. The house is rented and there is probable cause that Mr. Gunne might argue against searching some sections of the house citing its belonging to a different person.
As revealed in the preceding discussion, the intelligence has obtained some evidence of probable cause for a search of the premises named above. This search is meant to collect evidence relevant to the prosecution of the subject named Pete Tommy Gunne for the use of stolen identities and cyber security crimes as well as purchasing and distributing high-caliber firearms. The subject is known to be accessing the stolen identities using the Internet in total violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2332(a) and 11 14. The subject is also believed to be collaborating with an officer in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), who is believed to be involved in the deletion of records of firearm purchase by Tommy Gunne. This act is also an offense and a violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 15 12(a) (2).
Credible evidence provided by a confidential informant has led to the identification of Mr. Pete Tommy Gunne, an illegal dealer of firearms and a point man to a supplier and a contact in South America, as a subject of interest for investigation for several reasons;
1. Pete Tommy Gunne has been known to be a dealer of high-caliber firearms that he purchases online using stolen identities that are accessed using the Internet. Most of the financial support comes from a yet-to-be-identified contact from South America.
2. Tommy Gunne is known to be having a collaborator in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), who is responsible for aiding him in avoiding detection and by extension is an accomplice in committing a crime in the United States.
3. Tommy Gunne has not provided sufficient identification documents to the authority regarding his history of purchasing high-caliber firearms even though he is a key supplier of firearms to the contact in South America.
4. There is evidence to believe that Tommy Gunne has not presented truthful information about his illegal dealings with high-caliber firearms and his close relationship with the office of the ATF.
In the affidavit, which was initially submitted in support of a request for a search warrant, it was indicated that Mr. Pete Tommy Gunne and the officer of the ATF had collaborated in erasing the records of illegal purchase of firearms by using stolen identities. The act involved deleting computer records in total violation of the cyber security laws. This is one more piece of evidence connecting Tommy Gunne to the alleged crime and, therefore, a valid request for a search warrant to be granted to search his premises at the address indicated.
In the course of the past five years, Mr. Pete Tommy Gunne has increasingly participated in stealing personal identities using electronic systems and using the same to purchase and supply high-caliber firearms to other countries. To cover his illegal activities up, Gunne has an accomplice in the ATF department who is responsible for erasing the records of purchases from the computer system. The Federal Criminal Investigation department has received credible information from a confidential informant pointing to the illegal activities of Mr. Gunne encompassing the stealing of personal identities, supply of firearms against the existing laws, and tampering with electronic equipment to destroy the evidence of illegal activities. The said subject has been interviewed before with the investigating authority and understands the nature of interest that the authority has concerning his activities. The law enforcement is mandated to carry out further investigations in his premises to link him to the use of stolen identities to purchase and supply firearms and deletion of records from the computer system of the ATF. The accomplice in the ATF is also a suspect in the investigation and it is already established that the subject has instructed the former to be prompt in deleting the records and making sure that no evidence that can link him up can be traced by the authority.
The most recently obtained information from the confidential informant who came in last Friday indicates that the subject has embarked on destroying any evidence of illegal activities from his computer system in the home. While meeting friends in a social place, the subject revealed to the confidential informant during a friendly chat that he was thinking of making the last supply of firearm to the contact in South America and insinuated that the contact was also winding up arms trafficking. The subject also pointed to his awareness of the activities of law enforcement officers and the general change in the business environment concerning his dealings. During the casual conversation, Mr. Tommy Gunne revealed that he is not willing to compromise his safety by continuing the activities and plans to relocate to another country where he can establish his business again. Based on these statements, the confidential information has contacted the criminal investigation department to inform it of this case and urge it to act with speed not just to arrest the subject but also to stop him from evading justice.
Forensic Analysis of Electronic Storage
Given my training as a forensic analysis expert, I am aware of electronic devices are one of the best sources of evidence of criminal acts. Such information can be available for a long period if it is not removed. However, this information can be erased intentionally to eliminate the evidence as in the case with the accomplice in the ATF. Nevertheless, with the advancement in technology even erased information could be recovered using the forensic tools available in the market.
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The available information indicates that the affidavit seeks permission to locate not just any electronic information to link the subject to the crime but also any forensic evidence to establish the way electronic devices were used and who and when used them. There are overwhelming reasons to believe that forensic electronic evidence exists in any electronic device that has been used by the subject with any possible purpose.
i. The first is that data derived from electronic devices has always provided evidence of communication and Internet and online activities. Mr. Tommy Gunne is believed to have used his devices to steal the identities of unsuspecting people online and use them to purchase firearms.
ii. Previous experiences show that forensic evidence from electronic devices has been a valuable source of information about the person who has accessed the device. The user attribution characteristic is analogous to the search of a residence without really needing a search warrant.
iii. Experts in forensic examination are known to have the skills to place the material evidence in the context and make conclusions about the use of electronic devices as well as the purpose for which the devices were used and when. The whole process also allows identifying the information which is electronically stored on the device.
It is important to note that electronic forensic evidence is not always something that may be used right after it is discovered and before it goes to the investigating team for analysis. The usefulness of the data on electronic devices depends on the application of one’s knowledge and previous experiences of work with similar evidence.
The foregoing evidence and the provisions of Rule 41 (e) (2) (B) imply that the requested warrant will allow the investigation team to examine the device in line with the information of interest. The process will require the law enforcement officers to use techniques such as computer-assisted scanning of the entire medium for exposed pieces of evidence. The examination may also involve establishing where the device might not have been used. The warrant sought will allow the investigation team to examine the devices that are stored in the house where the subject lives. However, it does not require physical intrusion inside the building. For this reason, the authorization for the execution of the search warrant is limited to one day only.
Request for Sealing
The issuance of this affidavit is requesting this honorable Court to issue an order for sealing the warrant until further information is established as it is the right time to serve the warrant to the subject. The applicant opines that sealing the warrant will ensure ongoing investigation to continue reasonably and allow the investigation officers to gather more information about the criminal activities the subject is suspected to conduct. This request is based on the previous experience where criminal activities are committed online by alerting the potential targets of the intention to search their premises. The request is meant to preclude the premature disclosure of the contents of the affidavit and, therefore, eliminate the subject’s possible to permanently destroy possible incriminating evidence that may be kept in the premises. This will prevent endangering the process of investigation and ensure that law and order are maintained in the entire process.
About the foregoing discussion, I wish to state that there exists a probable reason to believe that a search warrant should be granted to search the aforementioned premises where Pete Tommy Gunne lives. The search may result in the collection of evidence crucial to the investigation team and averting the planned and ongoing obstruction of justice including deletion of evidence from the computer system and fleeing to another country by the subject. The use of the stolen identities to commit a crime is in direct violation of Title 18 U.S.C., Sections 15 12(a) (2), 2332a, and 11 14. There exists a probable cause to believe that a search in the premises of the subject, as described in earlier statements in this affidavit, will reveal the subject’s criminal activities and the actions put in place to avoid justice. It is also expected that the search will be granted concerning the information presented in this document. It is my submission that the presented affidavit contains material evidence to support the request for a search warrant authorizing the examination of the subject’s premises as described.