Private Military Contractors Hired to Move Guns and Gold Out of Ferguson

Claire Ward, VICE, November 21, 2014

Business owners in the St. Louis, Missouri area have hired private military contractors to transport guns and gold, fearing their shops will be targeted by looters if a grand jury does not indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in the St. Louis County suburb of Ferguson.

“There’s a lot of people that brought in a lot of money to have people secure their assets,” said Stephen King, owner of Metro Shooting Supplies gun shop, a 15-minute drive from Ferguson. “Some of those people spent $10 an hour on security guards and some people have $1,000 a day private contractors.”

King confirmed that gun shops in the area are hiring private military contractors to escort the transport of their guns to secure locations. A private military contractor who spoke to VICE News on condition of anonymity said that more than 300 private military contractors, or PMCs, have been contracted for work in direct response to Ferguson security concerns.

Jared Ogden, director of operations for Asymmetric Solutions, a private military contractor staffed by former special operations forces told VICE News his company was hired by businesses to transport “St. Louis-based company assets.”

“We’ve got our hands in a bunch things” related to security in the Ferguson area, said Ogden, a former Navy SEAL who was featured on the National Geographic reality program, Survival Alaska.

“If you are a business owner and you are in the business of selling firearms and you’re in an area where shops have been looted, burned down, property stolen, you now have the responsibility to society to ensure to do everything possible to make sure that those firearms do not get into the hands of the wrong people.”

In August, Assymetric provided security detail to a journalist reporting on Ferguson. The group tweeted: “We’ve been to Baghdad, Kabul, KL, Manilla, Peshwar, Bogata. Never guessed we would deploy a high threat team in our own city.”

Missouri Gold Buyers & Jewelry, the largest precious metal buyer in the state, according to the company’s website, has four shops in the St. Louis area, two of which are in North St. Louis County communities neighboring Ferguson. It was one of several area businesses looted following protests over Brown’s death. In August, masked men shattered one of the back windows of the diminutive shop on Kingshighway Boulevard in St. Louis and got inside, but they were unable to break into the safe, according to the shop’s owner, Mike Duke.

Duke is not taking any risks this time around.


Duke said he employs Cook Security, a private security and surveillance company, to provide security for his shops and has recently hired 12 additional private security guards to protect his stores, and one to escort the transport of gold, diamonds and coins from the stores to a safe location.



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  • Alexandra1973

    I don’t think they’re doing all this for nothing. As I saw one comment on another forum–send the bill to the usual race-hustlers.

    • Sick of it

      Sharpton owes approximately 4.5 million in back taxes. He won’t pay a dime.

      • Alexandra1973

        Maybe the ACLU and NAACP will help a brother out.

  • Bobbala

    Everybody that was going to pay for them has already done so.

  • See The Future

    If overwhelming force was put in position with shoot to kill orders this action by store keepers would not be necessary.

    • Strider73

      That is essentially what I said in response to the original article. In the initial riot the undertow steered clear of all businesses that had armed protection, either by the employees or private security.

  • kenfrombayside

    Have tear or poison gas ready. When looters, condoned by the political, media and academic elite, invade businesses, the owners have to release the gas. Problem solved.

  • Luca

    Put a sign in the window: “We are armed, trained and serious. Loot at your own risk”

    • See The Future

      They may not be able to read those big words.

      • Luca

        Add pictures of an AR15, a pit bull and a snake.

      • Strider73

        How about “You loot, we shoot”? Four one-syllable words should be comprehensible, even by the undertow. And it rhymes!

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    “Business owners in the St. Louis, Missouri area have hired private military contractors to transport guns and gold.”

    They didn’t need to hire private military contractors: The business owners could have hidden the gold inside of work boots and guns under job applications.

    Those would be the safest two places.

    • Atheist Realist

      that’s not Ferguson since there’s a palm tree in the background

    • R L Buds

      But work boots are good for stomping old white ladies, they love doing that.

  • IstvanIN

    The future of Real Americans: private security to keep us safe from the never ending hordes of savages.

    • Sick of it

      Uggh, that makes it sound like our future is South Africa.

      • IstvanIN

        or Zimbabwe…..

      • See The Future

        bars on the windows and security guards and living in constant fear. It is time to take back America from corrupt politicians.

      • Realist

        It most certainly is.

    • Daniel

      Maybe that’s your definition of “real Americans”.
      I’m my own security.
      That’s my definition.
      And I’m willing to prove that……..everyday.

      • IstvanIN

        Good for you.

      • johningermany

        If these store owners had stood their ground with shotguns and shot to kill any looters, how much trouble would they have gotten in?

        • Daniel

          As much as Obama and Holder could do to them, which is considerable. But the war has to start somewhere. A line will have to be drawn somewhere. Shuffling papers and having meetings will not do the trick.

          • johningermany

            I agree, but I’m not sure I’m ready to be the first. Has a precedent been set, other than the Asian shop owners during the LA riots?

    • See The Future

      When the savages become large in numbers the rich democrat/GOP establishment will not be able to fend them off in their gated communities regardless of their private security. The upper crust depends on the strong middle class to maintain order in a civil society. One those friendly middle class folks have nothing left to lose the rich are done.

  • dd121

    That’s the rational response to irrational people.

  • Daniel

    Those 100 FBI agents sent to Ferguson by Holder to function as KGB goons for the afro-rebellion should have a one way trip.
    Personally……I piss on the Federal Bureau of Politicized Cocksuckers.
    They did a great job enabling jihad at the Boston Marathon Massacre.

  • PvtCharlieSlate

    Just move everything into the nearest bookstore.

    • Realist

      Why would there be a bookstore in Ferguson?

  • M&S

    The sadness is, neither white nor black have any idea of what life is like in the real world. They think that if they can make a stand, make a statement, grab a pair of running shoes for Christmas, they can end it there.

    Now, I’ve had my say, we’re done.

    Except that’s never how it works. Someone always survives to come looking for another last word or comes after you because you’re too weak to remain standing in the face of another challenge.

    And since nobody wants uniformed troops proving we’re now the Third World to keep the various parties apart.

    You bring in the contract Mercs.

    Did the PMCs prevent 300,000 deaths in Iraq during the occupation? No.

    Were the Mercs so deeply hated for their ‘obey our 50ft rule or get shot at’ paranoia that the likes of Al Qaeda hunted them, personally and when they couldn’t get at them, turned right back to civilian contractors and military personnel? Yes.

    PMCs do the nasty business of gap filling and high risk missions because the Army can’t, because the Army expects to play by the rules.

    They play by a different set of rules and they are the living proof that a nation is no longer subject to the Rule Of Law.

    Be careful what you wish for. People who buy into ‘security’ for the sake of freedom ‘later’ find that later is an infinitely sliding scale to the right of possible.

    PW Singer, Corporate Warfare Review

    Superpower For Hire

    Two things a lot of folks don’t realize is just how broadly distributed the PMC power base is now. Security yes, but also ‘support’ which encompasses: training, logistics and intel. All on a contract with specific performance and liability clauses which a _corporate_ nation can summarize within a legal consult’s yea/nay risk factored commitment.

    When you bypass the power of the government as that which is nominally the representative voice of the people, you superficially get a ‘straight shot’ approach to what needs doing. But you also lose the unified responsibility and constraints as _rule of law_ by which a situation is forced into a framework which, right or wrong for the moment, still adheres to the belief systems of the people as a whole in (for instance) preferencing civil order and safety over Jungle Rules (he who has the bigger gun, makes the rules).

    You may not believe this is much of a threat, now, but it always starts small and there are already signs that we are proceeding towards a privatized America by which, for instance, the FAA is being ordered to create usage rules for up to 20,000 _commercial_ UAVs.
    Despite the monumental hazard such a plethora of unmanned systems would create for normal air traffic as well as people on the ground and the general impossibility of holding their encrypted bandwidth owners responsible for their generated IMINT/SIGINT product usage.

    This is ultimately what is dangerous about Ferguson as an initiating event. It shows that the government is impotent and increases the feeling of despondency by which people slip from a fearful condition of demoralization to debilitative one of destabilization to outright reactionary/exploitative violence as crisis.

    And finally, exhausted, from crisis to a degraded ‘normalization’ phase that involves the acceptance of outside authority as a ruling influence they would _never have allowed_ if they were not driven to it.

    And as racial violence by an unruly minority are the justification for extra-legal defenses, so PMCs are the vehicle that leads to everything else because they enable a CORPORATE DEBASEMENT not Societal Control over that critical “We live by the rules because we wrote them.” condition of self-determination.

    Look for the bigger effectors people. Look for the trends beyond the moment. And do something about what is so obviously coming for us all.

  • MathMan

    During the London Riots a couple of years ago the only shops the blacks didn’t loot were the book shops.