ATF Operation Helped Supply Mexican Drug Cartels With Weapons

Canadian Mounties salute as the funeral procession rolls by after the funeral service for fallen Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Detroit, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010. Terry was killed during a gun battle with bandits near the Arizona border with Mexico. Terry was part of a team of agents tracking the organized gang Dec. 14 in a canyon just north of Mexico. Four bandits were arrested. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, John T. Greilick)

U.S. gun-tracing operation let firearms into criminal hands (Los Angeles Times):

A federal operation that allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers so they could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels has lost track of hundreds of firearms, many of which have been linked to crimes, including the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in December.

The investigation, known as Operation Fast and Furious, was conducted even though U.S. authorities suspected that some of the weapons might be used in crimes, according to a variety of federal agents who voiced anguished objections to the operation.

Many of the weapons have spread across the most violence-torn states in Mexico, with at least 195 linked to some form of crime or law enforcement action, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and The Times.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the operation, said that 1,765 guns were sold to suspected smugglers during a 15-month period of the investigation. Of those, 797 were recovered on both sides of the border, including 195 in Mexico after they were used in crimes, collected during arrests or intercepted through other law enforcement operations.

John Dodson, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who worked on Operation Fast and Furious, said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit research group based in Washington, that he was still haunted by his participation in the investigation.

“With the number of guns we let walk, we’ll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed,” he said. “There is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.”

The ATF said agents took every possible precaution to assure that guns were recovered before crossing into Mexico.

Scot L. Thomasson, the ATF’s public affairs chief in Washington, said the Fast and Furious strategy is still under evaluation.

Agent: I was ordered to let U.S. guns into Mexico (CBS):

Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief.

He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico?

“Yes ma’am,” Dodson told CBS News. “The agency was.”

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson’s job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen.

Investigators call the tactic letting guns “walk.” In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States.

Dodson’s bosses say that never happened. Now, he’s risking his job to go public.

“I’m boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we’ve been doing it every day since I’ve been here,” he said. “Here I am. Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did. Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn’t happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn’t happen.”

Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico.

ATF named the case “Fast and Furious.”

Surveillance video obtained by CBS News shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at a Phoenix gun shop. The long boxes shown in the video being loaded in were AK-47-type assault rifles.

So it turns out ATF not only allowed it – they videotaped it.

Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets… the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.

One e-mail noted, “958 killed in March 2010 … most violent month since 2005.” The same e-mail notes: “Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone,” including “numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.”

Dodson feels that ATF was partly to blame for the escalating violence in Mexico and on the border. “I even asked them if they could see the correlation between the two,” he said. “The more our guys buy, the more violence we’re having down there.”

Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over.

Their answer, according to Dodson, was, “If you’re going to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs.”

16 comments for “ATF Operation Helped Supply Mexican Drug Cartels With Weapons

  1. Uncle Davey
    March 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    To have a war on terror and justify the entire “Homeland Security” layer of cops, you must have a terrorist. We’re broke and leaving Afghanistan soon, too expensive and the public is angry. Why not have a cheaper Econo-war on terror? People are already angry at the illegals, the situation is perfect for anarchy in Mexico, so let’s get it on! The Mexicans do the dying, we lose a few people here and there and wow! We’re looking at, what? Another 10 years of war? Cheaper, close to home, popular, what’s not to like. A full blown invasion ? A whole new vista dropped into our lap. Now…how to prime that pump…………

    • joe
      March 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Uncle dave,the U.S. cant even do anything about the drug war in afganistan! Afganistan supplies around 70% of the world’s herion.The U.S. can indeed have full control of the illegal alliens living here to the point where they would be at a total disadvantage but as long as your people want to smoke weed,sniff cocaine,and inject herion drugs will make their way here.

  2. Don Barksdale
    March 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Joe: I don’t see any mention of drugs in the first post. What is your point? Because you are missing his.

    • joe
      March 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      don,neither does this post say anything about afganistan or illegals you’re right!so why then does someone talk about “invasion” Mexicans do the dying”?

  3. joe
    March 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    These sought called “conservatives” say their pro-life and have true family values but always want to wage war or violence against someone or something.Their hearts are filled with hate towards human life!You are not pro-life ,you want death and destruction of the human race !Hypocrites !

  4. bobsguns
    March 5, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Once again the BATFE is caught lying, breaking the law & trying to cover their ass when they screwed the pooch. They’re THE most incompetent agency that ever walked, making the Keystone Kops look downright intelligent. This agency should be disfunded & immediately disbanded. Sadly the ones responsible for this FUBAR will probably get promoted, much as they did after Waco & Ruby Ridge.

  5. March 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    You Lost me at..

    hands of traffickers have been pilfered from military depots and the thousands who have deserted the Mexican army in recent years.

    That is not true , Do you people just make stuff up now?

    look at the whole world today for a sec , do you see how much the world is destabilized? you see the regimes being overthrown? its to create anarchy and so America can look much better for investors. Last week America received Billions in capital inflows from around the world. It was not a mistake.

    That’s the only way the American Dollar will survive. America looks more attractive if we have anarchy around third world countries.

    This is not about Republican or Democrat or Your Guns , It’s about the Dollar!

    • eredy
      July 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      its not about the dollar where you been.its about making 2 classes threw taking every right you have away . the elites laugh when they see comments like yours playing right into there bs. has nothing to do with anarchy has to do with a new world order police state theres a force that wants a society to collapse threw any means possible.you know both parties are crooks but still think money is it, no its not . the elites want power they have trillions already why would they want worthless money

  6. Don Barksdale
    March 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I think that the present day US wants to have constant war. It is good for the business of war and allows them to watch every move the people make. This Mexican deal is just made for the purpose. One war too expensive and unpopular? Start another closer to home.

  7. October 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    So it’s ok for the ATF to run guns to cold blooded killers, but a medical marijuana patient is stripped from their constitutional 2nd amendment right??? What’s wrong with this picture?

  8. yaya
    February 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    the problem is that this firearms sold to the mexican cartels not only kills thousands of cartel members. it ‘s killed civilians, police and mexican army. as Border Patrol agent in december and agent Zapata in february…. such selfish people!!

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