DOJ’s Fast and Furious Prequel: Failed Grenade-Running Operation
The Obama Justice Department endangered public safety by allowing a renowned weapons smuggler to continue working for Mexican drug cartels even after the agency had more than enough evidence to indict him, according to a federal audit made public this week.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the case is all the more outrageous because it involves the same preposterous strategy the administration used in the disastrous gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious. That once-secret program allowed weapons from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of hundreds of guns which have been used in an unknown number of crimes, including the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.
In this case, the feds let an American named Jean Baptiste Kingery, who smuggled thousands of grenade parts from the U.S. to Mexico, continue to operate his illicit business. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) knew he ordered large amounts of grenade components from a military surplus dealer and figured he would smuggle them into Mexico to build live grenades for that country’s drug cartels. Instead of arresting and criminally charging him, they allowed the shipments to be delivered with the idea of tracking Kingery. Similar to what occurred in the Fast and Furious, the feds lost track of Kingery and his weapons. Another Abbott and Costello moment for the agencies charged with protecting the homeland.
Not coincidentally, the Arizona federal prosecutor, Emory Hurley, who failed to bring charges against suspected criminals in the Fast and Furious debacle, did the same in this case. In fact, he passed up numerous opportunities to arrest and criminally charge Kingery, according to the federal audit, issued by the DOJ Inspector General. Adding insult to injury, it was Mexican authorities that eventually charged Kingery after he eluded U.S. agents. His grenades were used in major crime scenes south of the border and when Mexican police raided his house in Mazatlan, Mexico, they found material to build 1,000 hand grenades. This is material that was smuggled with the knowledge of the U.S. government.
Like he did with the botched gun-running operation, Attorney General Eric Holder tried to cover up details of this failed experiment. In its lengthy report the DOJ watchdog points out in a foot note that Holder slowed down access to information for the Kingery probe just as Fast and Furious was also heating up. We all know how that brilliant plan blew up in the administration’s face. Judicial Watch has been a leader in investigating Fast and Furious and just days ago exposed the sordid details of the Obama administration’s unscrupulous efforts to cover up information about the operation. JW had to go to court to get the records, which also reference the Kingery case. Read our recent coverage here and here. The grenade-walking operation is like a really bad prequel.