Authorities decline to explain IRS seizure from gun shop

WILLIAMSBURG - Unanswered questions remain in the IRS seizure of more than $460,000 in cash from a former Williamsburg chief of police's business, Gabe's Gun Shop, and the bank ac­count for the shop. A public notice was recently filed about a Feb. 24 seizure, which alleges Mike Gene Gabriel attempted to conceal his gun business deposits.

Gabriel hasn't been criminally charged and there is no information available regarding a criminal in­vestigation. The notice states the seizure is an administrative forfeiture from Gabriel for suspected violations of Title 31 USC 5324, which regards structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements.

Any cash deposit in excess of $10,000 in a single day is subject to a currency transaction report, so if someone was structuring they might take a large deposit and break it up into smaller deposits to avoid the reporting requirement, according to the IRS.

According to the notice, $117,000 was seized from Gabriel's bank account in the name of Gabe's Gun Shop. The IRS also seized $345,000 from 2728 P Avenue in Williamsburg, which according to online assessor records is Gabriel's home and business address.

The notice states the property is subject to forfeiture and anyone claiming ownership interest in the property can file a claim with the IRS criminal investigation division. John Nunez, IRS Criminal Investigation public information officer, said Thursday he couldn't comment because of Federal Disclosure laws.

Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sandy Breault, in Omaha, Neb., said she had no information of a criminal investigation involving Gabriel.

Gabriel didn't return phone calls made Thursday and Friday. Nobody answered the phone at the gun shop Friday.

A reporter tried to get a comment from someone at the gun shop Thursday but nobody answered the door. It appeared to be closed.

Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Trista Fredrick, public information officer in Kansas City, Mo., field office, said Gabriel is the only owner listed on the gun shop. His firearms license is current and doesn't expire until March 3, 2012, she said.

Gabe's has been open since 1982, according to its website.

Gabriel joined the Williamsburg police department in 1975, became police chief in 1976 and retired in May 2007.

During Gabriel's tenure as police chief, he was accused of conducting an affair on city time and property with a former city employee. Former Mayor Murray Armstrong investigated the allegations brought by a group of about 50 city residents and considered some sort of disciplinary action but decided against it.

Armstrong told the group in March 2003 that no action would taken against Gabriel because nobody had come forward with details of specific examples of when the alleged affair occurred on city property and time.

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