REVEALED: How gun-toting US Postal Service inspectors helped arrest Steve Bannon on a yacht before he was indicted for stealing $1M in border wall fundraising 'scam'

Steve Bannon's arrest in connection with an alleged We Build The Wall fundraising scam was assisted by an unlikely group of law enforcement officers: armed inspectors from the US Postal Service. 
Bannon, once one of President Donald Trump's top aides, was taken into custody on Thursday morning after a Coast Guard vessel stopped him on a yacht owned by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui off the coast of Connecticut. 
The first officers to step on the deck of the yacht were gun-toting members of the US Postal Investigative Service (USPIS), who swept the boat before federal agents came in to put Bannon in handcuffs.  
The central role USPIS played in the stunning arrest helped pull the agency out of obscurity as most Americans were likely unaware about its centuries-old arm that's tasked with investigating an array of crimes facilitated by the mail - including child exploitation, cybercrime, drug trafficking and financial crimes.
Steve Bannon's arrest in connection with an alleged We Build The Wall fundraising scam was assisted by an unlikely group of law enforcement officers: armed inspectors from the US Postal Service (file photo)
Steve Bannon's arrest in connection with an alleged We Build The Wall fundraising scam was assisted by an unlikely group of law enforcement officers: armed inspectors from the US Postal Service (file photo)
Bannon is seen leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday evening after he pleaded not guilty to being part of an alleged crowd funded border wall scam
Bannon is seen leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday evening after he pleaded not guilty to being part of an alleged crowd funded border wall scam
Bannon's arrest came after federal prosecutors accused him and three associates of defrauding hundreds of thousands of people out of $25million donated to a We Build The Wall campaign. 
The former Trump campaign manager, who joined the White House in 2017 only to be forced out a few months later, allegedly raked in $1million in the alleged scheme and spent hundreds of thousands of that on 'expenses'.
We Build The Wall founder and poster-boy Brian Kolfage - an Iraq war veteran, Purple heart recipient and triple-amputee - is also accused of fraudulently pocketing $350,000 in donations.   

Prosecutors said Bannon and Kolfage lied when they claimed they would not take any compensation as part of the campaign. 
Both men are facing one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 
Bannon pleaded not guilty on Thursday afternoon and was released on $5million bail.
Hours earlier he was arrested in dramatic fashion whilst sunning himself on Wengui's 150-foot, $35million yacht called the Lady May off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut.   
Chief Warrant Officer Mariana O'Leary, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, confirmed to the Washington Post that a team of USPIS agents were the first to board Wengui's yacht as the arrest commenced. 
USPIS joined the investigation because of its expertise in tracing records of financial transactions, of which there were many involved in the alleged We Build The Wall scheme. 
Bannon was arrested on Thursday morning after a Coast Guard vessel stopped him on a yacht (pictured) owned by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui off the coast of Connecticut
Bannon was arrested on Thursday morning after a Coast Guard vessel stopped him on a yacht (pictured) owned by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui off the coast of Connecticut
Bannon, wearing his distinctive two shirts, is seen on deck checking his phone hours before federal agents, with a C-130 plane overhead, arrested him
Bannon, wearing his distinctive two shirts, is seen on deck checking his phone hours before federal agents, with a C-130 plane overhead, arrested him 
According to an indictment, Bannon and Kolfage used shell companies and a nonprofit controlled by the former Trump aid to siphon money from the campaign to themselves. 
'The US Postal Inspection Service is committed to identifying and investigating anyone who exploits others for their own benefits,' Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale said in a statement Thursday.
The arrests in this case could go down as one of USPIS's most famous throughout its 245-year history - perhaps shadowed only by that of Charles Ponzi in 1920.  
USPIS is regarded as America's first law enforcement agency. It was founded in 1775 - the same year as the US Postal Service - when William Goddard was named as the nation's first Surveyor under Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin. 
Goddard's role involved auditing postal accounts and investigating theft of mail or postal funds, according to a timeline on the agency's website.  
The agency's role expanded into the 19th century as people began migrating out west and mail traveling further across the country became the target of criminals including Billy the Kid, who was interviewed by postal agents in 1881 about mail robberies in Santa Fe.  
Over the next century and a half USPIS had a hand in investigating a number of high-profile criminals, including Lee Harvey Oswald, who allegedly used a mail-order rifle to kill President John F Kennedy in 1963. 
In 1996, USPIS also helped hunt down 'Unabomber' Ted Kaczynski, who killed three people and injured 23 others in a massive mail-bomb campaign from 1978 to 1995.  
Alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (pictured) and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski are among the criminals who have been apprehended with help from USPIS
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski
Alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (left) and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski (right) are among the criminals who have been apprehended with help from USPIS
In 2019, the agency conducted 5,759 arrests that led to nearly 5,000 convictions - mostly involving mail theft, mail fraud or prohibited mailings.  
Despite its wide-ranging responsibilities involving virtually any crime committed via the mail, USPIS receives much less exposure than the agencies it partners with, including the FBI and ATF.     
USPIS sought to shed some light on its operations by helping produce a CBS drama called The Inspectors that ran from 2015 to 2019 and was financed by Postal Service seizures.  
It also received some attention on the NBC comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which featured Ed Helms as an arrogant postal inspector intent on convincing everyone that his position is important.   
REVEALED: How gun-toting US Postal Service inspectors helped arrest Steve Bannon on a yacht before he was indicted for stealing $1M in border wall fundraising 'scam' REVEALED: How gun-toting US Postal Service inspectors helped arrest Steve Bannon on a yacht before he was indicted for stealing $1M in border wall fundraising 'scam' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:11 Rating: 5

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