From the Denver Rocky Mountain News, 08/04/00
Man charged in pipe bomb sale
Levi Rabou, 25, of Cheyenne was arrested
It's no wonder it took them four months to "investigate."
Many of us didn't even know that it is against Federal Law to "sell 31 unregistered pipe bombs to an undercover agent in Weld County."
Counting them was probably fairly simple, and no doubt the Attorney General's office was pleased that they came out to exactly 31 without having to cut any of them in half or lose some of them in the "evidence locker."
Then they would have had to investigate whether the pipe bombs were really unregistered. Selling registered pipe bombs is either not a crime or comes under some other statute. No doubt an experienced team of investigators pored over the Federal Pipe Bomb Registry and determined that these 31 pipe bombs were not on it. That probably took a couple of months.
Then of course they had to determine whether the man to whom the pipe bombs were sold was in fact an undercover agent, and whether he was located in Weld County. I have it on good authority that undercover agents stick out like sore thumbs in Weld County, which takes some doing because fully 70% of adult males in Weld County are agents of one federal agency or another. So that part of the investigation, at least, went pretty smoothly.
The Attorney General, Ms Reno, was reportedly delighted when federal agents were able to prove to her satisfaction that Rex Levi Rabou, despite his name, was not himself a federal agent conducting a "sting." It is far more difficult to prove that someone IS NOT something than that someone IS. In fact, only the Federal Government can do that.
I have no idea how many man-hours were spent on this investigation, but regard it as money well-spent. 31 unregistered pipe bombs were kept off the streets, and probably as many federal investigators were also kept off the streets and out of people's hair for four months.
There is also a lesson here about journalists and
journalism schools, but I'm not exactly sure what it is.