“In the second violent crime connected with the failed Fast and Furious program, two Arizona undercover police officers were allegedly assaulted last year trying to stop two men in a stolen vehicle containing two weapons linked to the program,” azstarnet.com reports. “The Arizona Department of Public Safety officers said they tried to stop the men south of Phoenix when the driver rammed their cars, threatened them with the firearms and fled into the desert. They were caught and arrested, and a Beretta pistol and AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle were found in the stolen Ford truck, police said.” Question: what happened after that?

The driver, Angel Hernandez-Diaz, 48, was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, driving a stolen vehicle and illegal possession of weapons. He pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial in Pinal County next month. The passenger, Rosario Zavala, 30, of Mexico, was charged with possession of narcotics and the stolen vehicle.

[Click here for the indictment.]

The episode came five months after the start of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Fast and Furious program, in which agents allowed the illegal purchase of weapons to try to track the firearms to Mexican drug cartels. And it occurred nine months before the slaying last December of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry south of Tucson.

What’s it with that “try to track the firearms to Mexican cartels” thing? The evidence is incontrovertible: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) made no attempt to keep track of the weapons sold under their watchful gaze after the guns were purchased illegally, in some cases by known felons.

Alternatively, they succeeded in tracking the firearms to Mexican cartels. Crime scene incidents just like this one gave them proof that the guns went to Mexican drug cartels, as planned. Oh wait. We don’t know if Hernandez-Diaz and Zavala worked for a cartel. And they weren’t in Mexico. Huh.

The LA Times reports that both men are Mexican nationals. And here’s something interesting: given the weapons confiscated by “an elite Arizona Department of Public Safety law enforcement unit” (the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force) Hernandez-Diaz and Zavala weren’t gun smugglers per se.

The weapons found in the vehicle were the 9-millimeter Beretta, hidden under the front console, and the AK-47 in the back seat. Authorities in Arizona said they were told both weapons were illegally purchased under the Fast and Furious program that began in November 2009. Also in the truck were four boxes of ammunition for the AK-47, a box of 23 9-mm bullets for the Beretta, and four cases of Bud Light beer.

Yes, well, were they the original straw purchasers? Why was there no coordination between the “elite” AZ cops and the ATF prior to now? (“Officials at ATF headquarters and the Justice Department are sifting through records to see whether there are more.”) Or was there?

[Probably not, as the ATF and U.S. Attorney’s office stand accused of letting a grenade smuggler walk across the border with his deadly cargo, amongst other things.]

Meanwhile, here’s a part of the incident that the mainstream media (including Fox) seems to have ignored. ABC15.com reports that this incident was a trigger pull from turning into another Agent Brian Terry-style death.

The ABC15 Investigators have also learned Hernandez Diaz is accused of pointing his weapon at an AZDPS officer. The officer fired a shot at the suspect but did not strike him.

Oh and . . .

Earlier in the summer, the ABC15 Investigators linked nearly 50 weapons to non-violent crimes in the Phoenix and Glendale area.

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14 Responses to ATF Death Watch 77: The Hits Keep Happening

  1. You can’t have it both ways; either they were tracking the firearms, or they were not tracking the firearms. Because the firearms can be linked to the program, I am pretty sure they are being tracked.

      • Your right they aren’t GPS enabled guns floating around AZ and northen Mexico, but they can track the firearm by the serial. Where it ends up and what crimes it is used in, that is exactly how they planned to track them through the ops. Did you really expect them to detach an agent with GPS finder for every gun sold? This is how you track firearms, it is a wait and see kind of game. They are tracking the firearms through the ATF’s e-Trace database. Every time someone is caught with a gun and the police log it, the ATF add it to the file, it’s not a proactive approach but it is safer and easier to track them than a hands on man on the ground approach.

        • May be, but that practice is illegal. Allowing the guns to walk makes the ATF a conspirator in whatever happens with the guns. Same as if you supplied a gun to a criminal.

        • Not at all. Because they set this up as an approved undercover operation they are allowed to commit certain crimes in a good faith effort to catch criminals.
          Here is a little background in covert policing by the Stanford Law Review.
          http://legalworkshop.org/2010/02/24/breaking-the-law-to-enforce-it-undercover-police-participation-in-crime

          Yes this was a bungled sting operation, but it was a legal bungled sting operation. And as sad as it is that people are being killed by this, the ATF cannot be charged with homicide or even negligent homicide as a result of their actions.

          The laws regarding covert policing should be changed, but under current regulation this was all an above board operation.

        • Not if it can be proven that the ATF had no intention of tracking the guns. And given that they have no authority to enter Mexico, I find it hard to believe that they ever intended to track them. Now PROVING that is a different story. But if it’s proven that they did not intend to track them, or knew it would be impossible/illegal to track them into Mexico, they will have a hard time preserving immunity.

        • If you believe this BS was ever intended to do anything except run up some numbers for Obama to use I feel sorry for you. You must be the proud owner of a number of bridges.

  2. My favorite is the “semiautomatic assault rifle” description. Although it’s still incorrectly called an assault rifle, at least the journos didn’t go around claiming the AK was automatic, a machine gun, a baby killer, built from the hides of baby seals, nor that it featured “a shoulder thingy that goes up”.

  3. What’s really funny is watching anti-gun bloggers such as MikeB and Japete continue to stick their head in the sand and pretend that this is no big deal. Not surprisingly, they both refuse to answer the question on how many deaths or recovered guns it would take before this could be considered a big deal. It must be tough to blindly support such an incompetent governmental organization.

    • It must be tough to blindly support such an incompetent governmental organization.

      Nah. They do it all the time. I think of it as a kinship among incompetents.

      • Hey, come on, it pays the rent. They only write what they are told to write, writing the truth would be the same as writing a resignation and would never get past their editors. Does that make them whores? Yes, but at least they are honest whores. They give what they are paid for.

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