“The disgraced former police chief of a small New Mexico border town [Angelo Vega, above] will remain behind bars with the mayor and village trustee pending trial on gun running charges,” Reuters reveals. Now excuse me for starting to see reds—sorry, the ATF under every bed, but here we go again. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allows a bunch of bad guys to buy guns for Mexican drug cartels—right until they don’t. Which would be fine, I guess, if the ATF would have intervened, I dunno, BEFORE the guns crossed the border. For that angle, we have to skip to the very last sentence of the story . . .
The bust followed a year-long investigation led by the . . . ATF together with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration agencies.
So the ATF and their pals allowed Vega and his pals to smuggle “around 200 guns” to Mexican drug thugs. I’m starting to lose count here (not that we have an accurate number as of yet), but I reckon we’re pushing 3k ATF-enabled guns all-in.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Lichvarcik outlined new details in the case against Vega, who is charged with one count of conspiracy.
Lichvarcik alleged that Vega used his position to run the license plates of suspicious vehicles “to figure out if any law enforcement was onto them,” and allowed an unmarked police truck to be used to run firearms, in exchange for $20,000 in “protection money” paid by Gutierrez.
He said Vega also used his position to purchase “tactical combat gear, including a bullet-proof vest to be smuggled” to Mexico.
If Vega and Columbus, NM mayor Eddie Espinoza and village trustee Blas Gutierrez are such bad dudes that they can’t get bail (like the drug lords are going to give them shelter), why were they running loose in the first place? Oh wait; to catch the big fish. Except I’m thinking that the ATF ARE the big fish.
And please don’t tell me that this whole ATF gun running deal doesn’t stink of under-the-table payouts to law enforcement officials, possibly including the ATF. Oh, and one more thing. Entrapment. I predict most if not all of cases will fall apart as the smugglers’ lawyers argue, successfully, that the devils at the ATF made them do it.