ATF Death Watch 132: Operation White Gun Revealed

 

On yesterday’s John Gibson radio show, a caller defended presidential candidate Ron Paul’s plan to eliminate the CIA. The caller repeated Paul’s claims that the CIA is helping drug smugglers ply their trade in the United States. The talk show host pressed the cuckoo clock sound effect and dropped the call. Yes, well, the facts speak for themselves: the CIA has a long and well-documented history of “enabling” drug trade to support our “friends”  in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and, of course, Mexico . . .

Even if the Company didn’t plan Operation Fast and Furious—the ATF program that channeled some 2000 U.S. gun store guns to Mexican drug thugs—the CIA certainly knew about it. The CIA was also in the loop on Operation Wide Receiver: the ATF op that exported an unknown number of U.S. gun store guns to Honduras. Why wouldn’t the CIA be situationally aware? That’s their job.

This website has always maintained that the American gun running programs were designed to arm the Sinaloa cartel against Los Zetas. Uncle Sam supported the former against the latter to prevent Los Zetas from assuming control of the country, either by the ballot box or the imposition of a military junta.

As part of this grand strategy, the DEA laundered tens of millions of dollars for the Sinaloas (sometimes by wire, sometimes by trailer truck). Immigrations and Customs Enforcement let cash go south and drugs come north. The FBI allowed Sinaloa surrogates to bypass their NICS check system to buy guns illegally; in some cases, providing the cash to do so.

The ATF supplied the guns. Not all the guns. Mexico is awash with firearms, grenades, grenade launchers and ammunition that somehow “leaked” to the cartels via officially sanctioned sales to the Mexican (and other Latin American) military and law enforcement organizations. The cartels are also armed with weapons imported from China and Eastern Europe. But the ATF did their part to keep the Sinaloas sweet.

Yesterday, the latimes.com revealed yet another ATF guns for goons program: Operation White Gun.

According to internal ATF documents, including debriefing summaries and border task force overviews, White Gun and Fast and Furious both began in fall 2009, and the same ATF officials ran both cases.

MacAllister was the lead agent. Her supervisor, David J. Voth, was head of the ATF’s Group VII field office in Phoenix. His boss was William D. Newell, then the special agent in charge in Phoenix . . .

According to documents that the ATF sent to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, an umbrella group of U.S. agencies that seeks to disrupt major drug trafficking and money laundering, White Gun targeted nine leaders of the Sinaloa cartel. The list included Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, who heads the cartel and is Mexico’s most wanted drug suspect.

In ATF reports, MacAllister wrote that U.S. intelligence showed cartel members were setting up military-type training camps in the Sierra de Durango mountains, near Guzman’s northern Mexico hide-out, and wanted to bolster their arsenal with grenade launchers and .50-caliber machine guns.

The agents focused first on Vicente Fernando Guzman Patino, a cartel insider who was identified as one of their weapons purchasers and who often used code words and phrases, saying “57″ for “OK,” for instance.

In fall 2009, the ATF team sent an undercover agent posing as an arms dealer to Guzman Patino. Photos of weapons, including a Dragon Fire 120-millimeter heavy mortar, were emailed to his “Superman6950″ Hotmail account.

According to the ATF documents, Guzman Patino told the undercover agent that “if he would bring them a tank, they would buy it.” He boasted he had “$15 million to spend on firearms and not to worry about the money.” He wanted “the biggest and most extravagant firearms available.”

The two met again outside a Phoenix restaurant, and the undercover agent showed Guzman Patino five weapons in the trunk of his vehicle, including a Bushmaster rifle and a Ramo .50 heavy machine gun [above]. The undercover agent said he could get that kind of firepower for the Sinaloans.

Just as Guzman Patino seemed ready to buy, according to the ATF records, the investigation into his activities abruptly ended. The documents do not explain why, and they don’t indicate whether he obtained any weapons.

When Fast and Furious first came to light—via the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry at the hands of drug thugs using ATF-enabled weapons—the Bureau claimed they launched F&F to link U.S. gun store guns to the Mexican cartels. They were trying to catch the “big fish.” They “lost” the guns purchased with their blessing.

The “botched sting” defense was a ludicrous idea (the ATF never followed the guns); immediately adopted by an all-too-credulous press. The new information about ATF Operation White Gun establishes the fact that the ATF was already in contact with the Sinaloa cartel’s “big fish.”

And did . . . nothing? If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a dozen times: follow the guns. How many? Why type? Where are they? If Patino received firearms from the ATF and wasn’t arrested by the ATF on weapons charges, what does that tell you? Was Operation White Gun another AFT f’up or part of a larger conspiracy to provide logistical support to the Sinaloas in accordance with unofficial (i.e. CIA) policy? Or both?

Senator Grassley and Representative Issa are on the case. Expect more fireworks from their respective committees, even as the U.S. Presidential race heads to its denouement. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is set to throw all the ATF agents involved with Fast and Furious under the proverbial bus. The big question: which one of them will turn against their taskmasters and what will they say? Someone will crack. It’s only a matter of time.

avatar

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.

6 Responses to ATF Death Watch 132: Operation White Gun Revealed

  1. avatarST says:

    Damning stuff.But what will really tell the tale is when a Cartel bookeeper blows the whistle on what’s on the other side of the ledger.

    I’m no expert at these matters,but this looks very much like the Sinaloas made a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ type deal with the U.S. Government;in other words,the Sinaloas help the US government with the occasional big drug bust and outright cash payment in exchange for logistical and legal support against the Los Zetas.

    Right now were seeing the threads unravel on the US side,but the real scandal is when we see who the Sinaloas’ checks were endorsed to.

  2. avatarRalph says:

    Someone will crack. It’s only a matter of time.

    In order for someone to crack, he or she must have (i) a John Dean-like attack of conscience, or (ii) fear of prosecution. The pricks at ATF have no conscience, and nobody is going to be prosecuted except for some cartel murderers whose testimony is worthless even if true.

    This whole issue is going to swept under the rug because, after all, the man who brought us hope, change and transparency is infallible. At least he wasn’t lying about the transparency — F&F was and remains a transparent frame-up.

    • avatarSmok3 says:

      I doubt its a matter of conscience but survival.

      Contrary to what the law says, whistleblowers are definitely NOT protected from anything.

      Blowing the lid on a scandal that can get the boss and everyone above him or her jailed means facing the possibility of being fired yourself, losing your income -and the ability to feed yourself or your family- plus in a case this complex involving government and international drug cartels, being the whistleblower on a conspiracy like this can be an express ticket to winding up dead in an alley with several 5.56mm holes in you and your loved ones.

      I don’t condone corruption by any means, but I seriously doubt anyone is going to risk coming forward when doing so means reporting to the same people who are the source of the problem.

    • avatarJwhite says:

      Woo hoo!! HOPE AND CHANGE….

      *walks away*

  3. avatarTom says:

    So I am trying to get this straight…we are supporting the Sinolas as they support the corrupt government of Mexico with guns while at the same time we are blaming the American gun dealers, manufacturers, and gun owners for all the problems which occur due to the drug trade.

  4. avatarBruce W. Krafft says:

    Slightly off topic: Strictly speaking Ron Paul does not want to get rid of the CIA, he wants to get rid of the paramilitary/junta making/junta overthrowing arm of it and narrow its focus to . . . wait for it . . . intelligence gathering, probably operating under the auspices of military intelligence.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.