FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

ATF Superiors Told Agents Not to Seize Guns In Cartel Gun Operation

June 16, 2011  | 


A placard honors Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry during National Police Week 2011. Photo: Paul Clinton.

Federal firearms agents investigating gun traffickers were sidelined by their superiors in the "Fast and Furious" operation tracking guns to Mexican drug cartels, the agents testified in a Congressional hearing.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents told the House Oversight and Government Reform committee they were expressly told by supervisors not to "intervene and interdict" the loads of guns, reports FOX News.

Phoenix ATF agents Peter Forcelli and John Dodson told the committee they were repeatedly shut down, when they questioned their superiors.

"We weren't giving guns to people who were hunting bears. We were giving guns to people who were killing people," Forcelli told the committee, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fast and Furious was part of Project Gunrunner, an ATF operation aimed at tracking the flow of guns to criminal groups in Mexico. Since it began in 2006, Gunrunner is credited with the seizure of more than 10,000 firearms and the arrests of more than 800 suspects.

In 2009, ATF's Phoenix office began Fast and Furious, in which agents monitored but did not disrupt the sale of guns from American dealers to suspected "straw purchasers," who obtain guns for criminal organizations.

About 2,000 to 2,500 weapons were sold in this way, reports the New York Times.

The ATF came under increasing scrutiny earlier this year, when several of these weapons were traced to the suspects who ambushed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata.

A AK-47 variant legally sold by a Dallas-Fort Worth firearms dealer was transported to the Los Zetas cartel operators who used it to attack special agent Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Jr. Agent Zapata was killed during the Feb. 15 ambush.

In March, Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano told U.S. senators conducting Judiciary Committee hearings that she was not aware of the possible involvement of an ICE agent in the ATF operation.

By Paul Clinton

Related:

Weapon Used In ICE Agent's Slaying Traced to Texas Man

Dear Mr. President

Napolitano Unaware of ICE Agent's Link to Letting Guns 'Walk'

Tags: ATF, Gun Trafficking, Federal Agents, Border Patrol, Fast and Furious


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Tom @ 6/17/2011 7:35 AM

IMHO, this is one of the most ill conceived operations in law enforcement history. I wonder if the decision making trail will lead back to Attorney General Eric Holder who in my mind is the most incompetent attorney general in my 63 years. This should not be a negative reflection of the men and women of ATF who put their lives on the line every day but the policy makers who dreamed this stuff up. This country needs leaders with some common sense which appears to be absent in this administration.

Rick @ 6/17/2011 8:27 AM

This seems like an operation aimed at further anti-gunners goals of banning all weapons. Mrs. Brady was guilty of a straw purchase, Feinstein and Boxer have CCW's but want to confiscate all firearms from citizens while allowing illegals to obtain taxpayer funded benefits. This is insane!

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

DOJ Condemns Leaks of Ferguson Shooting Evidence
New details from the inquiry into Michael Brown’s Aug. 9 death — all provided by...
Official Brown Autopsy Supports Officer Wilson's Testimony
The St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official...
Video: New Jersey Troopers' Cruiser Sideswiped by Jeep at Traffic Stop
The close call was captured on dashcam video back on October 11 around 10:30 p.m. Two New...
Video: Machete-Wielding Man Killed by Arizona Police After Ramming Patrol Car, Seriously Injuring Officer
Avondale, Ariz., police shot a man Thursday morning after he rammed a patrol car while...
Video: Arizona Campus Officer Saves Student's Life
A casual game of volleyball almost proved deadly for an Arizona State University student...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine