Fast and Furious: DoJ Inspector General looking into missing third gun

January 23, 2014
Brian Terry

Brian Terry

When Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by Mexican drug smugglers near Arizona’s border with Mexico in late 2010, two firearms were recovered that, while traceable to weapons bought through the felony-stupid Operation Fast and Furious, were unable to be identified as the murder weapon. (Neither were they wholly ruled out.) Months after that, strong suspicions arose regarding a possible third weapon, which vanished mysteriously. Audio recordings and emails from that time attest to its existence. Since then, though, the question of “the third gun” has lain fallow.

Until now, that is. CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson breaks the news of a preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General:

In a new development in the Fast and Furious gunwalking case, the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) is making inquiries into the possible existence of a missing third weapon in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, CBS News has learned. According to sources close to the investigation, the IG is questioning the Border Patrol’s evidence collection team this week in Tucson, Ariz.

(…)

But references to a missing third weapon, a Soviet-made SKS rifle of the same caliber as the WASR’s, have persisted since the crime. CBS News previously obtained and reported on secretly recorded conversations referencing such a gun. The tapes were recorded approximately mid-March 2011 by the primary gun dealer cooperating with ATF in Fast and Furious: Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Ariz.

In the audiotapes, ATF’s lead agent on Fast and Furious, Hope MacAllister, tells Howard that a third weapon recovered at the Terry murder scene is an SKS rifle. It’s unclear why a weapon would be absent from the evidence disclosed at the crime scene under FBI jurisdiction. If it’s proven to exist, sources familiar with the investigation say it would imply possible evidence-tampering for unknown reasons.

Based on investigations since then, for example the report of the House Oversight Committee and Katie Pavlich’s book, Fast and Furious, and assuming the firearm exists (1), one can speculate on several possible reasons why someone would make this weapon disappear, most of them centering around the Arizona ATF and US Attorney’s offices covering up a massive screw up that now had the potential for serious criminal liabilities. (2)

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what the Inspector General’s investigation turns up, and I’m sure the House Oversight and Judiciary committees will be watching closely, too.

Footnote:
(1) I think the winning bet is that it does.
(2) From what I’ve read so far, I don’t think it likely that the DoJ in D.C. was involved in hiding the weapon, if it exists. That smells more like a local CYA effort. Main Justice’s interests in Fast and Furious looks more like piggybacking on an already-running ATF operation, seeing in it the opportunity to gain public support for further restrictions on long guns. Hence the strong support they gave it. Whatever the whole truth is, though, I don’t think we’re going to know it for a long time.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fast and Furious: “walked” grenade used in firefight that killed three Mexican cops

October 17, 2013

More murderous fruit of a “felony stupid” operation:

CBS News has learned of a shocking link between a deadly drug cartel shootout with Mexican police last week and a controversial case in the U.S. The link is one of the grenades used in the violent fight, which killed three policemen and four cartel members and was captured on video by residents in the area.

According to a Justice Department “Significant Incident Report” filed Tuesday and obtained by CBS News, evidence connects one of the grenades to Jean Baptiste Kingery, an alleged firearms trafficker U.S. officials allowed to operate for years without arresting despite significant evidence that he was moving massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels.

(…)

In 2009, ATF also learned Kingery was dealing in grenades; weapons of choice for Mexico’s killer cartels. Documents show they developed a secret plan to let him smuggle parts to Mexico in early 2010 and follow him to his factory. Some ATF agents vehemently objected, worried that Kingery would disappear once he crossed the border into Mexico. That’s exactly what happened.

Kingery resurfaced several months later in 2010, trying to smuggle a stash of grenade bodies and ammunition into Mexico, but was again let go when prosecutors allegedly said they couldn’t build a good case. In 2011, Mexican authorities finally raided Kingery’s factory and arrested him — they say he confessed to teaching cartel members how to build grenades and convert semi-automatic weapons to automatic.

This is a variant on the “Gunwalker” plot we’ve all come to know and love: instead of allowing a straw buyer to illegally purchase firearms in the US to smuggle to psycho drug cartels in Mexico, the ATF let Kingery buy parts here and assemble them in his workshop in Mexico. And, just like the thousands of arms they let walk across the border, the boobs at ATF and Justice lost Kingery, too.

And now three more Mexican police are dead, and the Obama-Holder Department of Justice has more blood on its hands.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. And here’s why Eric Holder could not have known what was going on — OCDETF.

UPDATE: Fixed the headline to more accurately reflect the CBS story.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More #FastAndFurious guns found

August 15, 2013

We’re going to be living with –and people will keep dying from– the consequences of this “felony stupid” fiasco for years to come. Via CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson (1), we learn that more “walked” guns have been found at crime scenes in Mexico:

Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, CBS News has learned, as the toll from the controversial federal operation grows.

According to Justice Department tracing documents obtained by CBS News, all three guns are WASR-10 762-caliber Romanian rifles. Two were purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino in May and July of 2010. Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in July 2012, purchased a third. The rifles were traced yesterday to the Lone Wolf gun shop in Glendale, Ariz.

During Fast and Furious and similar operations, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged the Lone Wolf and other gun stores to sell massive amounts of weapons to questionable purchasers who allegedly trafficked them Mexican drug cartels.

Patino is said to have purchased 700 guns while under ATF’s watch. Ever since, a steady stream of the guns have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. But the Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and CBS News to provide a full accounting. An estimated 1,400 guns are still on the street or unaccounted for.

And I think that number is low.

Victor Davis Hanson thinks Benghazi is the mother of all Obama scandals, and he makes a strong case. But I’d argue that Operation Fast and Furious is also a worthy candidate. Consider: a law enforcement arm of the federal government, one specifically charged with controlling the illegal trade in arms, decides it would be a good idea to facilitate the illegal purchase of said arms by agents of vicious Mexican drug cartels, based on some vague plan to trace these weapons and arrest the drug lords.

A plan born from the start to fail: there were no tracking devices on the weapons, no way to connect them to the drug lords, no way to do anything at all about them until they showed up at crime scenes, often with people newly killed by those same weapons. Then they could all stand around like morons and say “Yep. Serial umber shows that’s an OF&F gun alrighty!”

Back in D.C., the Department of Justice thinks this is a swell plan and gives it top priority — OCDETF status. Apparently they thought an increase in violent crime in Mexico traceable to American guns would increase pressure for gun control, specifically tighter restrictions on long guns, here at home.

Meanwhile, over 300 Mexicans and at least two US federal officers were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, one of them here in the United States. And when the scheme starts coming to light after the killing of Border Agent Brian Terry in Arizona, the administration lies through its teeth about who knew what and when, the President hides the Attorney General behind “executive privilege” (itself an abuse of that privilege), he thumbs his nose at a contempt f Congress citation, and the families of the dead Americans are left to wonder why their government sold criminals the weapons that killed their loved ones.

And those weapons keep showing up, and people keep dying.

Yeah. I’d call this Obama’s biggest scandal.

Footnote:
(1) Who seems to have drawn some ominous attention.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Operation Fast and Furious: “walked” weapon used to kill Mexican police chief

July 7, 2013

Remember “Operation Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker?” That was the “felony stupid” inter-agency investigation lead by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and “overseen” Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder. The bright idea was to allow straw-buyers working as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels to buy illegally heavy-duty firearms at gun shops in southwestern states and walk them across the border into the waiting arms of the crazed psychos of the Sinaloa and other cartels. The goal was to then trace the weapons to the cartel heads, who could then be arrested and their organizations broken up.

Left unexplained, of course, was how these weapons would be connected to the cartel bosses, since there was no way to trace them once they left the shop. Almost the only way any of these guns would ever show up again was at a crime scene, often with dead bodies present:

Those are just the ones we know about. And now it’s happened again:

A high-powered rifle lost in the ATF’s Fast and Furious controversy was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year, according to internal Department of Justice records, suggesting that weapons from the failed gun-tracking operation have now made it into the hands of violent drug cartels deep inside Mexico.

Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. Also killed was one of his bodyguards. His wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region.

A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.”

Naturally, the ATF refused comment. I guess they haven’t heard that the preferred excuse of the Obama administration is “We’re not evil, just stupid.”

A lot of innocent people are going to be paying a price in blood for the ATF’s bright idea, for years to come. I know this has slipped out of the limelight for now, given all the other scandals swirling around the Chicago thugocracy, but, other than Benghazi, this is the only scandal in which people have died. And it is absolutely inconceivable that the Attorney General had no idea was what going on, not when Fast and Furious has been designated an OCDETF case.

So far, Eric Holder and Barack Obama have successfully stonewalled Congress and the American people about the truth regarding Fast and Furious, but we have to keep after them to get to that truth.

The dead, now including Chief Rosales-Astorga, deserve no less.

via Yid With Lid

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. Investigative journalist Katie Pavlich wrote a must-read book on the scandal.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#GunControl : Photo of the Day

January 16, 2013

In honor of the Biden commission’s “report” and the President’s signing of 23 executive orders in front of his human shields a group of children:

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You’ll find many more at the PJM Tatler.

By the way, these children couldn’t attend, nor were they even mentioned.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious Oh my. ATF agent’s personal firearm found at site of beauty queen’s killing

December 19, 2012

Updating this item. Two guns linked to the Obama administration’s gunwalking operation were found at the site of a gun battle in Mexico that took the life of model and beauty queen Susana Flores Maria Gamez. Only one of the weapons was purchased by a federal agent:

Mexican beauty queen Susana Flores Maria Gamez and four others died in the brutal gun battle between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military in November. CBS News has learned that an FN Herstal pistol recovered near the crime scene in November was originally purchased by an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) manager who was faulted by the Inspector General in Operation Fast and Furious: George Gillett. Gillett was the Asst. Special Agent in Charge of ATF Phoenix when Fast and Furious began.

The Herstal pistol is nicknamed a “cop-killer” because of its designation as a “weapon of choice” for Mexican drug cartels. CBS News has learned the Inspector General planned to question Gillett today after a hastily-opened inquiry to determine how this agent’s personal weapon got into the hands of suspected cartel members.

CBS News spoke to Gillett, who is still employed at ATF. Gillett acknowledged he once owned the weapon in question, but says he sold it in Phoenix sometime last year after advertising it on the Internet. He declined to provide the name of the man who bought it, but says he went “above and beyond” what was required by law to complete the firearms transaction. That included asking the purchaser to fill out a form giving personal information and stating that he was in the U.S. legally; and checking his driver’s license, which Gillett said was issued in the U.S.

According to Senator Grassley, however, the aforementioned Form 4473s contained multiple errors and falsifications, which, if true, may cost Agent Gillett up to five years in the penitentiary. And –irony alert– these are the same forms straw buyers for the cartels had to fill out and lie on.

So, in at least this case and with at least this weapon, was an ATF agent himself acting as a straw buyer? Or is he just dumber than a box of rocks? How many other transactions was Agent Gillett involved in, and how many straw purchases did he oversee as part of his work on Fast and Furious?

It seems Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa’s work isn’t done yet.

via Instapundit

RELATED: Earlier posts on Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The gun scandal the left doesn’t care about

December 19, 2012
Fast and Furious got results, all right.

What about these children, Mr. President?

That would be Operation Fast and Furious, the “felony stupid” investigation during which the BATF, with DoJ approval, knowingly allowed thousands of heavy firearms to be purchased by straw buyers, after which they were walked across the border into the waiting, murderous arms of Mexican drug cartels. And, so far, over 300 Mexican civilians, police, and military –as well as two US federal agents– have died from this fiasco.

To this count we should perhaps add another:

Another weapon from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency’s controversial Operation Fast and Furious was recently recovered at a Mexican crime scene, CBS News has learned. Congressional investigators say the crime scene was likely where a recent shootout took place between reported Sinaloa drug cartel members and the Mexican military, in which Sinaloa beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez and four others were killed.

According to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Justice Department did not notify Congress of the Fast and Furious firearm recovery in November, even though Grassley has requested an accounting of weapons that surface from the case. During Fast and Furious, ATF allowed more than 2,000 weapons, including giant .50-caliber guns, to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. Other so-called “gunwalking” operations by ATF let hundreds more guns hit the street. Most of them have never been recovered.

The latest known recovery is a Romanian AK-47-type WASR-10 rifle. It was picked up at a crime scene Nov. 23 in Ciudad Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico. That’s the same area and weekend of the shootout involving Flores Gamez’s death. A trace report shows the rifle was purchased by Uriel Patino, the Fast and Furious suspect who allegedly bought more than 700 weapons while under ATF’s watch. (1) Records show Patino bought the rifle and nine other semi-automatic rifles at an Arizona gun shop March 16, 2010.

Well of course DoJ didn’t inform Congress of this weapon’s recovery: Obama won reelection, Holder’s probably leaving soon, and they’ve found scapegoats to cover their own culpability. Why bother answering questions from a member of the Senate minority? Constitutional accountability? Are you kidding??

To her credit, CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson has given regular and serious coverage to Fast and Furious. To the MSM’s shame, she’s been one of the very few. And the rest of the liberal-left? The only thing they’ve done, when they couldn’t ignore the scandal altogether, is to blow smoke by crying “racism” and “witch hunt” in order to defend Obama and Holder. Truth hasn’t even been an afterthought.

Compare that to the recent horror at Sandy Hook elementary school. The initial shock had barely passed when the left began screaming for a ban on certain types of weapons, new, more restrictive laws, and even confiscation. Many, rightfully outraged over what happened to those children and teachers, wrongfully wished savage violence and death on defenders of Second Amendment rights. We saw outrage, anger, shock, demands for action.

But after Univision reported on a massacre in Juarez, Mexico, in which 14 teens were killed and another dozen wounded, and in which some of the guns had been supplied by the US government?

Crickets.

So, why shouldn’t we conclude that the left, the Democrats, and most of the MSM (but I repeat myself) don’t give a damn about Brown children?

Footnote:
(1) Not just under “ATF’s watch.” That agency, and through them the Department of Justice, actively colluded in supplying heavy armaments, including .50-caliber rifles, to Mexican cartels. For a good summary, see Katie Pavlich’s “Fast and Furious.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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