One stunning aspect of this week’s giant FCPA bust was the DOJ’s stage management. Defendants from three countries and five states were swept up at the same time, all but one in the same city. The feds were like an infantry waiting to see the whites of their eyes — waiting, waiting, waiting — until the defendants had walked into the trap. It was law enforcement as art, choreographed at the biggest law enforcement-related confab on the planet, in the presence of the world’s media.
Twenty-one of the 22 defendants were arrested in Las Vegas. (One of them, Stephen Gerard Giordanella, was arrested in Miami.) None lived in Vegas; they were in town for the Shot Show.
The annual Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade Show is a colossal event. Founded 32 years ago for the firearms, munitions and shooting-related industry, the general public isn’t invited. It’s for professionals only and draws around 60,000 people from all 50 states and 75 countries. They come to see the 1,800 exhibitors — if you’re not part of the Shot Show, you’re not part of the industry. This year’s venue at the Sands Expo & Convention Center covers 700,000 square feet.
The FCPA arrests were bound to receive maximum attention. They happened on the eve of the Shot Show’s opening; some defendants were from well-known exhibitors. According to the Shot Show website, around 1,400 journalists would have been there — flying in from all over the U.S. and beyond. The FCPA arrests gave them a special reward — hard news to send back home.
* * *
The Shot Show, which runs through January 22nd, features appearances by most celebrities in the shooting-sports field — Clint Smith from the Thunder Ranch shooting school, Tom Gresham from Gun Talk radio, and big game hunter Wayne Van Den Bergh, among others.
Wider-known personalities are there too. Mixed martial arts champ Brock Lesnar is on the appearance list, along with baseball players Willie Robertson, Chipper Jones, Adam LaRoche, Matt Duff, Ryan Langerhans and Tombo Martin. One of the legendary Statler Brothers — Jimmy Fortune — is there. So is Kristy Lee Cook, a top ten American Idol finalist.
The best-known attendee this year may be Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. He’s plugging his line of “Steven Seagal Tactical Gear” — body armor, battle and sniper rifles, and other equipment for military and police. Here he is: