ATF Death Watch 131: Mexico Destroying Fast and Furious Firearms

 

The Fast and Furious scandal is on holiday at the moment. Congressional hearings poking into Uncle Sam’s gun and grenade running operations will continue in the New Year. There will be a steady drip of revelations about the ATF et al.’s dirty dealings with Mexican narcoterrorists that will torpedo the Obama administration’s credibility on national security, ethical transparency and moral integrity. Meanwhile, the Mexican government continues its covert cooperation with the American federales, helping their neighbors to the north destroy any physical evidence of collusion . . .

Since the inception in 2002, the Ministry of Public Security of Baja California has destroyed more than 30,000 firearms, while during 2011 they disabled 2,138 pieces.

The 2011 stat in elimparcial.com‘s report refers to weapons “delivered to military installations by people socially responsible.” Guns exchanged for a 1500 peso grocery voucher. How many were eTraced against the ATF’s database, which includes firearms “walked” during Operation Fast and Furious? I’m thinking . . . none.

The Mexican government is doing its level best to keep all the weapons that it’s recovered—including those found at crime scenes—from inspection. Remember that the Mexicans used to provide a full accounting of recovered firearms. That practice stopped shortly before Operation Fast and Furious went live.

Also, clock this from an msnbc.com “Iron River” propaganda piece, dated 2010:

Meanwhile, Mexican authorities are taking steps to ensure the weapons that are seized don’t find their way back to the cartels.

At a military base, in Mexico City, soldiers use torches and hammers to destroy thousands of guns, saving others for evidence in criminal investigations.

The photo caption claims the Mexican government destroyed 90k weapons in four years (2006 – 2010). Despite the need for hard evidence of ATF gun running (ostensibly to capture the “bad guys”) and data on the “seepage” of American-supplied military weapons to narcoterrorists—or because of it—the Mexican melt-down continues. Are they saving F&F firearms? You must be joking mate . . .

On this side of the border, the ATF has admitted that it enabled over 2000 weapons during the ten months that Operation Fast and Furious was live. The feds “recovery” of these firearms has been . . . irregular. As far as we know, and we don’t know much, some 400 guns have been accounted for. The last specific heads-up hit the net in November via azstarnet.com:

When investigators served search warrants in central and southern Arizona Oct. 13, they recovered two firearms that had been sold as part of Operation Fast and Furious, the discredited investigation into gun smuggling.

But any further details are proving hard to find . . .

Where the weapons were found and what sort of guns they were is as yet unknown. Drew Wade, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman, told me his agency is prohibited by law from revealing gun-trace results and referred me to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But ICE, as that agency is known, initially said that information is ATF’s responsibility and so far has no other comment.

No update available. In other words, the coverup continues.

The Fast and Furious scandal broke through the blog barrier into the mainstream media when Mexican drug thugs (FBI informant on board) gunned down U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with ATF enabled AKs. The last thing the U.S. and Mexican governments want: another U.S. citizen killed by an ATF-enabled firearm.

And yet it’s a distinct possibility. For all we know, it may have already happened. [Note: it sucks that Mexicans murdered by F&F firearms are considered collateral damage---if they're even considered.] If Congressional investigators want to get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious conspiracy (which involves at least nine federal agencies), they need to do what the ATF never did: follow the guns.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

7 Responses to ATF Death Watch 131: Mexico Destroying Fast and Furious Firearms

  1. avatardls56 says:

    I smile and cringe all at the same time when I read your fine work depicting this most egregious act foisted upon us by a social engineering at any cost administration. The cringe comes every time I hear them talk about information equality. In their warped minds shutting you and other truth speakers up is their ultimate goal.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    In most of the developing world, life has been, and continues to be, pretty damn cheap. The well being of the elites and the sustaining of their politics/privilege is paramount. Despite the current Mexican government’s rhetoric, F&F could well pose an existential threat to what many of the elites hold near and dear. In a different time, and under a different political/social/moral context than we have today, perhaps we could have expected a wholly different play out to a situation like this, with a far more satisfactory and moral outcome.

    Mexico is not, nor has it ever been, a country that holds the rule of law and egalitarianism in very high esteem. Collateral damage that largely only affects the peasantry is merely part of the price of maintaining the status quo. There is little historical evidence that there has ever been much loss of sleep by the elites and the power brokers, despite the occasional, and often obligatory, public moral hand wringing by those same elites. It’s just the way business has always been done there. Is it any wonder then that Mexico was, is and continues to be such a basket case of corruption, graft, moral bankruptcy, soul killing chaos and squalor? Expect more of the same.

    Will we ever get to the bottom of F&F to the point where real justice is served in our lifetime? Your guess is as good as mine, but I sure wouldn’t bet the farm on that expectation. Those responsible from this cluster fuck, on both sides of the border, will fight hammer and tongs to see that all of the right asses are covered.

  3. avatarTom says:

    Where the weapons were found and what sort of guns they were is as yet unknown. Drew Wade, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman, told me his agency is prohibited by law from revealing gun-trace results and referred me to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But ICE, as that agency is known, initially said that information is ATF’s responsibility and so far has no other comment.

    Catch-22.

  4. avatarTom says:

    The Mexican government is doing its level best to keep all the weapons that it’s recovered—including those found at crime scenes—from inspection. Remember that the Mexicans used to provide a full accounting of recovered firearms. That practice stopped shortly before Operation Fast and Furious went live.

    About like a cat in the litter box.

  5. avatarRoadrunner says:

    There don’t seem to be too many possible scenarios under which the Mexican government would turn up F&F weapons. Most likely it will be when they arrest or kill a cartel member. They won’t likely show up at a gun buy-back.

    On the other hand, you’ve got to wonder why the federales would be so quiet and helpful to the DOJ. Somehow the DOJ must have made its peace behind the scenes with the Mexican government, considering F&F was bordering on an act of war.

  6. avatarBessie says:

    When Eric Holder said that it was a possibility that many more would die, he looked like he could not care any less…after all to him they are just Mexicans.

  7. avatarBen says:

    The first known ATF “gunwalking” operation to Mexican drug cartels, named Operation Wide Receiver, began in early 2006 and ran into late 2007. Licensed dealer Mike Detty informed the ATF of a suspicious gun purchase that took place in February 2006 in Tucson, Arizona. In March he was hired as a confidential informant working with the ATF’s Tucson office, part of their Phoenix, Arizona field division. With the use of surveillance equipment, ATF agents monitored additional sales by Detty to straw purchasers. With assurance from ATF “that Mexican officials would be conducting surveillance or interdictions when guns got to the other side of the border”, Detty would sell a total of about 450 guns during the operation. These included AR-15s, AK-47s and Colt .38s. The vast majority of the guns were eventually lost as they moved into Mexico.

    If I understand correctly, this operation (not Fast and Furious – which came later) occurred before Obama took office? All of the ATF members involved in Fast and Furious were around and gun-walking before the Obama administration took office???

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