ATF Death Watch 157: Operation Fast and Furious Armed the Sinaloa Cartel

I haven’t blogged the scandal surrounding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) for some time. Frankly, I couldn’t stomach running my metaphorical fingers through the entrails of the thing. I am literally revolted by the Obama administration’s corruption, lies, hypocrisy and stonewalling on Operation Fast and Furious. But now I’m back to face facts—something that Obama’s Boyz are still trying desperately to avoid. And for good reason. As I’ve been saying since the beginning of this scandal, even before Mexican drug thugs wielding ATF-enabled firearms gunned down U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, F&F was more than a “botched sting.” To quote President Obama’s mentor, the chickens are coming home to roost. Check this from . . .

[Captured Los Zetas “logistics coordinator” Victor] Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 as long as the intel kept coming.

To recap, Mexico is in the midst of a vicious and relentless war between one multi-billion dollar drug cartel (Los Zetas) and another (Sinloas). Some 83k Mexican have been murdered in the last six years during this bloody battle for control of the illegal drug trade. Many more have been tortured. Many more have lost their political rights and human dignity.

Zambada-Niebla is saying that the U.S. government chose sides in this conflict, arming and supporting the weaker cartel (Sinaloa) against the stronger (Los Zetas). As we did in Columbia, and elsewhere. The former drug kingpin says the ATF’s Guns for Goons program Fast and Furious was part and parcel of American support to the Sinaloa cartel.

He should know. Zambada-Niebla claims—credibly–that he was a DEA informant during the time he was organizing massive shipments of dope, coke and meths to U.S. consumers. The DEA says he wasn’t an official informant. No one officially offered him immunity (there is a process for such things).

Yes, well, Zambada-Niebla’s trial is scheduled for October. As in October surprise. Or not. If you think Attorney General Eric Holder is stonewalling on the whole who-knew-what-when and who-covered-up-what-when F&F front, the feds (DEA, FBI, CIA, DHS, CPB, etc.) have erected a wall o’ death around records re: U.S. collusion with Zambada-Niebla and his pals.

Keep in mind that this is not an either/or deal. Fast and Furious may have been both a program designed to support “our” cartel AND a way to gin-up support for gun control.

Neither is a particularly defensible policy. But if Congressional investigators can show that the Obama administration gave a Mexican drug cartel free reign to export drugs and import billions of dollars (cash money), leading to the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, the F&F scandal will go nuclear.

As I’ve said before,  Zambada-Niebla’s testimony is so potentially damaging that it’s a wonder he’s alive. Let’s hope he remains so. It’s high time that Congress dragged the players at the sharp end of this extra-legal black bag job into the light of a public hearing. The American people and relatives of Agents Terry and Zapata deserve nothing less.

Oh, and meanwhile, another Fast and Furious firearm has surfaced.

A weapon tied to “Operation Fast and Furious” was seized in Tijuana in connection with a drug cartel’s conspiracy to kill the police chief of Tijuana, Baja California, who later became the Juárez police chief, according to a U.S. government report.

The firearm was found Feb. 25, 2010, during an arrest of a criminal cell associated with Teodoro “El Teo” García Simental and Raydel “El Muletas” López Uriarte, allies of the Sinaloa cartel.

Tijuana police said they arrested four suspects in March 2010 in connection with a failed attempt to take out Julián Leyzaola, and that the suspects allegedly confessed to conspiring to assassinate the police chief on orders from Tijuana cartel leaders.

The gun’s discovery coincides with the ten-month time period during which Fast and Furious was operational, delivering over 2000 weapons into the hands of known cartel members. How about that.