The old southern phrase “breaking bad” can mean, among other things, defying authority. The phrase is also the name of AMC’s most successful television series ever, about a chemistry teacher in Albuquerque with incurable lung cancer who sells a little crank to build a nest egg for his family.
The phrase also might apply to the story of Ronald Eugene Bohm (graphic above) who was arrested last July 26, was indicted on August 11, pled guilty December 2 and was sentenced last Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to 70 months in federal prison and 48 months of supervised release. Bohm possessed about two ounces of methamphetamine, about six ounces of marijuana and a drop in rifle part called a “sear” that could transform his AR-15 rifles from semiautomatic to automatic weapons, like the ones the police use.
Great Federal Success
Bohm has been the subject of at least two Federal Bureau of Investigation press releases in the last seven months. The FBI seems to think his incarceration marks a turning point toward victory in the 40-year-long war on drugs. According to the most recent press release, “Bohm was the President of the Idaho chapter of the Henchmen Motorcycle Club. As a condition of Bohm’s supervised release he was ordered not to have any contact with individuals identified by local law enforcement agencies as documented gang members nor can he possess any items representing or showing any affiliation with gangs.”
Police in Meridian, Idaho , a suburb of Boise, knocked on Bohm’s door and interviewed his wife Constance when they allegedly smelled marijuana inside the home. Rather than calling a lawyer, Mrs. Bohm conversed with the police and admitted that there was marijuana in the house. Ronald Bohm arrived home from a motorcycle ride shortly after his wife told the police about the marijuana. A drug sniffing dog “alerted” on his saddlebag. They always alert. That’s how they get dog treats. A search warrant is not required to search motor vehicles, only “probable cause” – like a “trained drug sniffing dog alert.” A search of Bohm’s bags revealed marijuana and a firearm so Bohm and his wife were detained while police obtained a search warrant for the house.
Police found the drugs, the sear, four rifles, five AR-15 receivers, $1,100, and the kind of digital scale people on strict diets use in the Bohm’s master bedroom closet, Both the Bohms were charged with drug trafficking and unregistered possession of a machine gun.
It is unlikely that the Bohms would have been investigated in the first place if Ronald Bohm had not been a member of a motorcycle club. The case was investigated by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force. That is a federally funded task force staffed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in cooperation with the Boise Police Department; the Ada County Sheriff’s Office; the Caldwell Police Department; the Nampa Police Department; the Meridian Police Department; the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office; and the Idaho Department of Probation and Parole. Since the Global War on Terror began in 2001, virtually all American police work has been federalized. In motorcycle club investigations, federal police departments including the ones named here as well as the Department of Homeland Security hide their involvements in motorcycle club cases behind state and local police departments.
The ATF calls their stealth involvement in local policing the “Frontline Business Model.” On its website, the Bureau sort of explains that: “Frontline is ATF’s collaborative and intelligence-driven approach to accomplishing its law enforcement and regulatory mission. Importantly, Frontline relies on ATF’s highly valued partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to be effective in fighting violent crime. Under this collaborative approach, ATF’s Frontline business model ensures ATF’s limited resources are focused on the most violent offenders in a community, where the strong penalties associated with federal violations represent the most appropriate sanctions. To ensure ATF’s resources are aligned to produce maximum impact, Frontline requires ATF field divisions to conduct annual domain assessments to identify the law enforcement and regulatory priorities specific to their respective areas of responsibility.”
The Bohm’s case includes an additional twist. According to the FBI, their “case was prosecuted by the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southwest Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth.”
Constance Bohm will be sentenced March 29.