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New Boston ATF head wants to focus on street-level violence

In a return to working in the area, the new head of the Boston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said Thursday that he hopes to build partnerships with area law enforcement officers to strengthen investigations into street-level violence and gun crimes.

“We want to target people who are impacting their neighborhoods, communities, in Boston and in the region,” said Daniel Kumor, the new special agent in charge of the Boston ATF district.

“Our focus at the ATF is violent crime, violent crime involving firearms, explosives, and arson,” he said in an interview Thursday.

Kumor, only weeks into the new job, worked in the Boston district as an assistant special agent in charge 11 years ago, after the 2001 terrorist attacks, before being assigned to the bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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He also worked in the bureau’s Seattle division, and he began his career with the ATF in 1988 in the bureau’s New York district, where he focused on violent crime investigations involving street gangs, gun trafficking, and organized crime.

Kumor, who also worked briefly with the US Marshals Service and as a Philadelphia police officer, said he realized when he returned to the Boston district earlier this month that the area has some of the same “hot spots” and concerns with gun crime and trafficking that it had a decade ago, making it his priority as he outlines a law enforcement strategy.

“It’s something you always have to focus on,” he said. “What I’d like to do is build on that and focus our efforts in areas that are seeing a higher rate of gun crime.”

He said gun cases can range from the seizure of weapons stolen from a home to investigations of “straw purchases” involving a licensed, lawful gun buyer who in turn sells weapons to people who otherwise would not qualify for a license.

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Several years ago, he pointed out, the ATF arrested several men in a straw purchase case involving the movement of nearly 100 firearms from Maine to the hands of convicted felons in Lynn.

Several of those guns were recovered in crimes in Lynn and traced to the original buyer in Maine.

Kumor also said he wants to collaborate with local law enforcement and offer what he called the agency’s expertise in arson and explosion investigations, pointing out that the bureau assisted in the recent explosion at a Hyde Park home. Investigators determined that a man was mixing chemicals.

The ATF also played a key role in the investigation into a serial arsonist in Jamaica Plain. The arsonist, Jose Baez, was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison.

Kumor said he saw the ATF analysts’ work firsthand when he returned to Boston to assist in the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing in April.

“It’s the expertise our folks have at scenes, their ability to analyze what’s there,” he said.

“Everybody can bring something to the table,” Kumor said.


Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com.