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BATF Informant Left Out in the Cold

  • The federal government is developing a reputation for turning on its stool pigeons.
By Mike Blair

A former Air Force military police officer who helped the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) infiltrate the so-called Viper Militia in Arizona has been "left out in the cold" by his handlers.

Drew Nolan, 38, worked with the BATF to destroy the 12-member Viper Militia, which the federal authorities claim was planning to bomb federal building.

On seven members who were indicted, five pleaded guilty to lesser charges, one was found guilty in a recent trial, and the seventh defendant was acquitted on one charge. Another charge resulted at the conclusion of his trial in a hung jury.

Now Nolan is heavily in debt and on the run, according to reports received by The SPOTLIGHT.

Nolan helped the BATF infiltrate the Vipers after being promised by the agency it would pay him for his services, reimburse his expenses, keep his identity secret and, if his life was found to be in danger, protect him.

Relying on htese promises. Nolan helped sponsor John Schultz, a BATF undercover agent, as a member of the Vipers. With Schultz on the inside it was only a matter of months before the BATF secured what it considered sufficient evidence to put the so-called militia group out of business.

The BATF arrested the Vipers in July 1996, supposedly fearing they were planning to act soon.

Nolan was told by his handlers he, too, would be arrested to secure his cover. However, his mock arrest was never made, and within hours his name and address were known across the country.

Nolan claims he therefore had no choice but to become a fugitive of sorts.

Nolan is also $25,000 in debt and living under an assumed name.

Schultz, on the other hand, has received high praise for his work by federal officials, including President Bill Clinton, who says the BATF's quick action avoided a repeat of the Oklahoma City bombing.

"If everything had happened the way the BATF said it was going to happen, I'd have no beef at all," Nolan said. "But it didn't. They used me and then threw me in the garbage."

Nolan is not the only BATF informant who found himself the ultimate victim for working for the federal agency.

Carol Howe infiltrated a group believed tied to the Oklahoma city bombing. She warned her BATF handlers a bombing was planned months before the April 19, 1995 tragedy.

In frustration Miss Howe ultimately went public with her story. As a result, she was charged by the Justice Department with conspiracy and had to stand trial. The former beauty queen was found not guilty on all counts, leaving federal agents with egg on their faces.