First, the official press release from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):
A federal grand jury in Dallas has charged three local men with various federal firearms offenses related to their scheme to illegally acquire firearms they intended to transfer to others, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas [above].
The three defendants, Ranferi Osorio, 27, and his brother, Otilio Osorio, 22, and Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, have been in custody since their arrest on Feb. 28, 2011, by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and other state and local agencies, on charges in related criminal complaints.
The six-count indictment, returned today, charges each defendant with one count of conspiracy to acquire a firearm from a licensed dealer by false or fictitious statement and four substantive counts of that offense. It also charges Ranferi and Otilio Osorio with one count of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
According to the indictment, if a person buys a firearm from someone else but claims that he or she is the actual transferee/buyer of the listed firearm(s), the firearm acquisition is called a “straw purchase” and the conduct is called “lying and buying.”
The indictment alleges that beginning in July 2010 and continuing through at least Nov. 2010, the defendants made false statements to a licensed dealer to illegally procure at least 10 firearms, that they intended to transfer to others. Together they formulated a plan that included selecting the licensed dealers and the types of firearms to be purchased and acquiring the firearms from those dealers by making false statements intended to deceive the firearm dealer.
The indictment also alleges that on Nov. 9, 2010, the Osorio brothers knowingly possessed 12 Romarm, Model Draco, 7.62×39 caliber pistols which had the serial numbers obliterated. An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.
However, if convicted, each count of acquiring a firearm from a licensed dealer by making a false or fictitious statement carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Upon conviction, the conspiracy count and the possession of a firearm with a removed or obliterated serial number, each carry a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the ATF, DEA, FBI, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations and the Lancaster, Texas, Police Department. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay is in charge of the prosecution.
And here’s what they forgot to mention [via chron.com]
According to federal complaints filed previously, investigators said the men indicted Wednesday met a confidential informant near Dallas in November and gave him 40 guns to take into Mexico. The pistols, rifles and a shotgun — most without serial numbers — were seized before they crossed the border as part of the undercover operation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Translation. The ATF allowed the Osario brothers to smuggle guns as part of Project Gunrunner—after the Texas men smuggled the guns that eventually ended-up in the hands of the men who murdered ICE Agent Zapata. That’s the timeline according to the ATF.
It’s a bit confusing: the ATF were against gun smuggling before they were for it until they were against it, retroactively. So here’s another take from washingtonpost.com . . .
Authorities later learned that another gun purchased in October by Otilio Osorio was used in the Feb. 15 attack on two ICE agents as they drove on a highway near San Luis Potosi in Mexico, killing Zapata and wounding Victor Avila. Osorio bought that gun in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but authorities did not know at the time, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, which did not say when officials learned about the purchase. It’s also unclear how, when and by whom that weapon was moved into Mexico.
We know one thing for a fact: the ATF yanked the smuggler’s chain soon after the Zapata crime guns were traced. They knew exactly where they lived.
Translation translation: The ATF is in deep shit here. While they may be able to put a lid on the agents involved with Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, the feds jumped into bed with some very bad people. There are a lot of criminals who know where the proverbial—or actual—bodies are buried.
We hear reports that gunrunners are getting light sentences. The Osario boys may be negotiating with the feds even as I type.