The steady drip of damning information about the Gunwalker scandal has become a raging torrent. Yesterday, we learned that the ATF instructed at least one Indiana gun store to allow criminals to illegally purchase weapons, which later turned up at crime scenes. TTAG’s trying to establish who did what with which guns where. If these ATF-enabled guns didn’t go to Mexico, if Mexican drug thugs or their allies used them on U.S. soil, it pulls the rug from under the ATF’s patently ridiculous rationale for Operation Fast and Furious (a botched attempt to catch cartel members). It also leaves us wondering where else Gunwalker guns were sold. Boston? Philadelphia? Atlanta? How many ATF-enabled guns are out there? Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal‘s revealed that the ATF was also enabling grenades. Thousands of them . . .
ATF agents arrested Mr. [Jean Baptiste] Kingery in Arizona in June 2010 after months of surveillance and seized 116 grenade hulls and parts in his possession, the officials said.
The suspect told investigators he helped operate a mill in Mexico manufacturing improvised explosive devices made from the U.S.-sourced grenade components, they said. Mr. Kingery allegedly said he supplied the weapons to a cartel called La Familia Michoacana and also helped the cartel convert semiautomatic rifles into military-style machine guns.
Nonetheless, he walked free without being charged after just hours in custody, officials said . . .
The first telling aspect of this new intel: the exceptionally brutal (and that’s saying something) La Familia Michoacana was the cartel on the receiving end of these explosives and transformed, fully-automatic rifles. La Familia are a Gulf Cartel splinter group and, more importantly, the [now] sworn enemies of Los Zetas.
[U.S. efforts to arm Mexican cartels are aimed at fighting Los Zetas; the anti-Calderon cartel that Uncle Sam's designated a terrorist group, recently added to the Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) watch list.]
There’s also a connection to yesterday’s Indiana story. According to Wikipedia, “Despite its short history, [La Familia Michoacana] has emerged as Mexico’s largest supplier of methamphetamines to the United States, with supply channels running deep into the Midwestern United States.”
Seen in that context, the revelations about U.S.-sanctioned grenade smuggling and machine gun conversion can be seen as part and parcel of the same anti-Zetas, pro-Sinaloa strategy behind the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Operation Castaway. What’s more, the WSJ’s story bolsters TTAG’s case (based on confidential sources) that the ATF was the CIA’s bitch.
The lead ATF agent on the grenades case, Peter Forcelli, “was horrified with the thought of releasing this individual” and “practically begged” senior prosecutor [from the Phoenix U.S. Attorney's office] Emory Hurley “for permission to arrest the suspect on a criminal complaint” . . .
Officials from the U.S. attorney’s office . . . said prosecutors wanted to continue following the case and possibly bring charges at a later date.
Officials from the U.S. attorney’s office also have told investigators that the ATF agents freed Mr. Kingery because the agents wanted to make him an informant. Mr. Kingery maintained contact with agents for several weeks, then disappeared, the U.S. officials familiar with the case said.
So we’re supposed to believe that both the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s office released a man who made grenades and machine guns for Mexican drug cartels so they could “get the big fish.” Strangely, it didn’t work out that way. Here’s some more bovine excrement along the same lines.
The prosecutors involved also accuse the ATF agents of a misstep at an earlier stage. In January and February 2010, U.S. and Mexican agents devised a sting that allowed Mr. Kingery to take delivery of hundreds of grenade parts in the U.S. and cross the border into Mexico, officials said. U.S. agents lost Mr. Kingery on the highway to the border and Mexican authorities failed to stop him at the crossing, they said.
Huh? Kingery was given grenade parts and allowed to cross the border into Mexico but the ATF and their Mexican amigos (not to mention the CPB, ICE and that lot) failed to stop Kingery at the Mexican border? That doesn’t even make sense.
Investigators from the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), and the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), are also probing the Kingery case as an extension of their Fast and Furious probe.
They better hire some more investigators. Uncovering the full scope and scale of the Obama administration’s involvement with Mexican drug cartels is sure to tax their resources. Meanwhile, the Gunwalker/Bombwalker cover-up continues to tax credibility— and stimulate moral revulsion.
Mr. Forcelli said in a statement, “I am very proud of the work the ATF did in this case and I can assure you that at no point did we ever endanger the safety of the public with our actions.”