MARCH 19, 2012
Just when you think you’ve heard it all involving the Obama Administration’s disastrous Mexican gun-running experiment, new details surface to illustrate a new level of negligence and incompetence on the part of federal authorities orchestrating the scandalous program.
Known as Fast and Furious, the federal experiment allowed Mexican drug traffickers to obtain U.S.-sold weapons so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead federal law enforcement officers lost track of more than 1,700 guns which are believed to have been used in an unknown number of crimes.
In the past year lost guns have been linked to violence on both sides of the border while top administration officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, insist they knew nothing about the reckless operation. Among the first reports to surface; that Fast and Furious weapons were used to murder a U.S. Border Patrol agent (Brian Terry) in Peck Canyon Arizona. The assault weapons known as AK-47s were traced through their serial numbers to an Arizona dealer the feds repeatedly allowed to smuggle firearms into Mexico, according to a mainstream newspaper.
This week the same publication published a scathing article that paints a clown-like portrait of the agency—Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)—charged with running the program. It turns out that the ATF stumbled upon a top drug-cartel suspect targeted by its unscrupulous gun operation but let him go after he “pledged to cooperate and keep in touch with investigators.”
It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Seven months after launching the Fast and Furious operation, federal agents caught their main suspect in a remote Arizona outpost on the Mexican side, according to internal documents obtained by the newspaper. The drug lord, Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta, had 74 pounds of ammunition and nine cell phones hidden in his German-made sports car.
So what did the feds do? The top Fast and Furious investigator, Special Agent Hope MacAllister, scribbled her phone number on a $10 bill after Celis-Acosta promised to cooperate and keep in touch with investigators. Then Celis-Acosta disappeared into Mexico and later slipped back and forth across the border, illegally buying more American weapons and financing others. It’s all in the government records. You can’t make this stuff up.
Eventually Celis-Acosta got arrested, but the damage had been done and the government gun operation had spiraled out of control. Nearly 2,000 firearms have disappeared and scores have surfaced in Mexican crime scenes. Not surprisingly, the ATF refuses to explain why it didn’t arrest this drug lord when it had him the first time. An ATF spokesman quoted in this week’s story said: “Due to the fact that the criminal case is still ongoing in the courts, and the inspector general’s office is still investigating, we cannot comment about this.”
Judicial Watch is investigating the genesis of the Fast and Furious operation and has sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the ATF to obtain records. Both agencies have refused to provide even the most basic information about the program and neither has responded by the statutorily mandated deadline.
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