Last spring there was a story going around the blogs concerning a solicitation to buy from the U.S. Department of Education for 27 short barrel shotguns.
Now we know what they planned to do with them. They went to their SWAT Teams for use in collecting student loans. Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke as this story from Stockton, California illustrates. (The Department of Education is now saying it wasn’t about student loans but may have involved fraud or bribery in connection with student loans.)
According to the story from Sacremento’s KXTV News10 ABC, the Department of Education did issue the search warrant and authorized the SWAT team due to defaulted student loans held by Mr. Wright’s estranged wife who no longer lived with him or their children.
According to the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, the case can’t be discussed publicly until it is closed, but a spokesperson did confirm that the department did issue the search warrant at Wright’s home.
The Office of the Inspector General has a law enforcement branch of federal agents that carry out search warrants and investigations.
Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car just for a police presence when carrying out the search warrant.
Stockton police did not participate in breaking Wright’s door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.
UPDATE: Links to the embedded video on KXTV are down. I’m not sure why but I have sent an email to KXTV’s news desk asking about the reason. This has been a very popular story on both blogs and Twitter today. Could be that their servers are overloaded.
I just updated the story link as KXTV has updated the story on their website.
UPDATE II: The video and story links have been updated to reflect the latest coming from KXTV News10. The Department of Education is still mum on why they thought they needed a SWAT team to execute a search warrant on the wrong guy.
UPDATE III: Here is a link to a redacted search warrant. There are allegations that Mr. Wright’s wife engaged in student loan fraud. Unfortunately, for Mr. Wright and his kids, the confidential informant wasn’t aware that suspect didn’t live there anymore.
Frankly, I don’t see any justification for a SWAT team on a white collar crime where there is no indication of violent actions. I am assuming that the sole reason that the Dept of Ed’s OIG used a SWAT team was to justify having one.