Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

AP sources: Bush-era probe involved guns 'walking' (Bush's fault!)
AP ^ | October 4, 2011 | Pete Yost

Posted on 10/04/2011 12:58:17 PM PDT by maggief

EXCERPT

When Bush, a Republican, was president, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tucson, Ariz., used a similar enforcement tactic in a program it called Operation Wide Receiver. The fact that there were two such ATF investigations years apart in separate administrations raises the possibility that agents in still other cases may have allowed guns to "walk" rather than seizing them.

Federal law enforcement officials familiar with the matter say Operation Wide Receiver began in 2006 after the agency received information about a suspicious purchase of firearms. The investigation concluded in 2007 without any charges being filed.

After Obama took office, the Justice Department reviewed Wide Receiver and discovered that ATF had permitted guns to be transferred to suspected gun traffickers, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the practice is under investigation by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general's office.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ap; banglist; bushwidereceiver; democrats; dncmedia; doj; ericholder; fascistmedia; fastandfurious; gunrunner; gunwalker; liberalfascism; liberalmedia; mediabias; obamedia; sorosmedia
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-57 next last

1 posted on 10/04/2011 12:58:22 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: MestaMachine; LucyT

Ping!


2 posted on 10/04/2011 1:00:36 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Ok then let’s call the Bush era ATF, FBI, ICE people in front of the US House and Senate as well. Let’s REALLY get to the bottom of things!


3 posted on 10/04/2011 1:00:39 PM PDT by US Navy Vet (Go Packers! Go Rockies! Go Boston Bruins! See, I'm "Diverse"!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Another example of the state run commie “media” peeing on our legs and telling us it’s raining. I’m not buying this bull...


4 posted on 10/04/2011 1:01:27 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (If you always tell the truth, you won't have to remember what you said.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

What? Are they trying to spin a reverse rope-a-dope?


5 posted on 10/04/2011 1:01:27 PM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief
OK. That's Plan B.

Plan C is "Racism! Racism! Racism! . . . ."

6 posted on 10/04/2011 1:02:45 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sam_paine

COUNTERSPIN


7 posted on 10/04/2011 1:02:56 PM PDT by Col Frank Slade
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: maggief

AP/ Obama admin. must feel really threatened.


8 posted on 10/04/2011 1:03:34 PM PDT by optiguy (Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.----- Ronald Reagan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

LOL. Of course, Bush’s fault.


9 posted on 10/04/2011 1:04:39 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamofCarmichael

Bingo!


10 posted on 10/04/2011 1:05:06 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Wouldn’t the press have been all over this if it were true? Plus we would’ve had agents killed by American guns back then too. Logic escapes these people.

Cindie


11 posted on 10/04/2011 1:08:37 PM PDT by gardencatz (Proud mom US Marine! It can't always be someone else's son.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

This seems like an isolated incident at best. With obama - we have this going on in many different locations, Tampa included.


12 posted on 10/04/2011 1:10:29 PM PDT by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: The flash mob who wonÂ’t leave.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: maggief

OK, let’s have the emails and briefings opened up to show that the program goes all the way to the top, how many agents died during the Bush era as the direct result of its equivalent F&F, and the cover up was directed from top down, too.

F&F goes way beyond the “Bush Did It (too)” finger pointing thing. But nice try, AP.


13 posted on 10/04/2011 1:11:29 PM PDT by Sir Napsalot (Pravda + Useful Idiots = CCCP; JournOList + Useful Idiots = DopeyChangey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Bush will testify if Odumbo does....*smiles*


14 posted on 10/04/2011 1:11:45 PM PDT by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Let’s stop the Bush-defending on FR.

Bush set the table.

Obama served the meal.

Rush carried the water.


15 posted on 10/04/2011 1:12:31 PM PDT by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sir Napsalot
Speaking of the AP ...


16 posted on 10/04/2011 1:14:56 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: fishtank
I'll never stop defending GWB — here or anywhere. Dubya is a good man and was a good President and doesn't deserve the blame for anything Obama has deliberately done to wreck this country.
17 posted on 10/04/2011 1:16:06 PM PDT by utahagen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: fishtank

We’ve known about the Bush era operation for months. But I recall reading, back then, that guns weren’t allowed to cross the Border. That they were tracked. So, what’s the real story?


18 posted on 10/04/2011 1:18:02 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: vette6387; MetaThought; 60Gunner; XHogPilot; FreedomPoster; Josephat; Prince of Space; ...
Oh boy....


JUST DO IT!

19 posted on 10/04/2011 1:18:14 PM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Thank you, maggief.


20 posted on 10/04/2011 1:20:35 PM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: maggief

You know how I know it is a photoshopped picture?

The wookie looked too thin.


21 posted on 10/04/2011 1:21:21 PM PDT by Sir Napsalot (Pravda + Useful Idiots = CCCP; JournOList + Useful Idiots = DopeyChangey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: maggief
The investigation concluded in 2007!

Sorry, Obots, this isn't Bush's fault!

22 posted on 10/04/2011 1:21:33 PM PDT by kcvl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief
The atf needs to sell its cattle trailers and ride off into the sunset.
23 posted on 10/04/2011 1:22:04 PM PDT by org.whodat (Just another heartless American, hated by Perry and his fellow democrats.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

That’s what I recall.

The Bush guns were tracked, thus providing valuable info on the illegal gun trade

The Obama guns were allowed to walk untracked, thus providing Mexican drug cartels with valuable weaponry

I would appreciate it if someone could provide a source for this.


24 posted on 10/04/2011 1:22:45 PM PDT by kidd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Is there a difference between:

Allowing guns to walk and then actually tracking them.

vs.

Setting up the delivery, intimidating the seller into cooperating, AND THEN MAKING NO ATTEMPT TO TRACK THE WEAPONS????


25 posted on 10/04/2011 1:24:30 PM PDT by G Larry (I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his character)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Ah, okay, so now we know the tact they’re going to take. It’s the “everybody does it” defense.


26 posted on 10/04/2011 1:29:18 PM PDT by workerbee (We're not scared, Maobama -- we're pissed off!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

I knew this was coming..........


27 posted on 10/04/2011 1:31:57 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief

Long eeperience with this kind of ‘they do it too’ report informs me that if Bush did have some gun program there was some fundamental difference, ie; the guns didn’t exist, were never trandferred or weren’t functional etc.


28 posted on 10/04/2011 1:36:40 PM PDT by TalBlack ( Evil doesn't have a day job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maggief
Sorry Mr. Yost, people didn't die until Eric Holder and 0bama came into office.

Here's a trick question for you Yost, how many people died during Watergate?

These people in the state controlled media make me sick.

5.56mm

29 posted on 10/04/2011 1:45:45 PM PDT by M Kehoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra; MestaMachine; maggief; kidd; kcvl
Comments below by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra, kidd, and kcvl respectively.

MestaMachine & other Freepers: Do you have any SOURCED responses to these germaine comments? [See my final question/comment at the end of this post.]

~~~~~~~~~~

"We’ve known about the Bush era operation for months. But I recall reading, back then, that guns weren’t allowed to cross the Border. That they were tracked. So, what’s the real story?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"That’s what I recall. The Bush guns were tracked, thus providing valuable info on the illegal gun trade The Obama guns were allowed to walk untracked, thus providing Mexican drug cartels with valuable weaponry I would appreciate it if someone could provide a source for this."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The investigation concluded in 2007! Sorry, Obots, this isn't Bush's fault!
~~~~~~~~~~~~`

I'll start off with this report (the most in-depth that I can find at the moment) on Wide Receiver (which seems to be the Bush "scandal" in question):

Operation Wide Receiver

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In Wednesday’s Outdoor Wire, Jim Shepherd reports on another botched ATF operation in southern Arizona. Called Operation Wide Receiver, it involved straw purchases, RFID chips and antennae, and aerial tracking. The operation was run out of the ATF field offices in Tucson approximately five years ago and like, Operation Fast and Furious, guns made it across the border into Mexico.

In Operation Wide Receiver, Tucson agents allowed the sales of more than 500 firearms to known straw purchasers. Like Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, the operation apparently backfired.

Some firearms in Wide Receive were equipped with RFID tracking devices. In Wide Receiver, it seems the illegal purchasers seemed more than slightly knowledgeable of the way the ATF and how to take their aerial and electronic tracking procedures down.

Knowing the time aloft numbers for virtually all planes used in government surveillance, the buyers had a simple method of getting their purchases across the border undetected. They simply drove four-hour loops around the area.

As surveillance planes were forced to return to base for re-fueling, the smugglers simply turned and sprinted their cargo across the border.

The RFID tags also turned out to be problematic.

Rather than making large enough holes for the tags to be laid out inside weapons, agents force-fit them into the rifles.

That cramming caused the antennae to be folded, reducing the effective range of the tags. And an already short battery life (36-48 hours maximum) meant that should purchasers allow the firearms to sit, the tracking devices eliminated themselves.

This sounds like something out of “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” but it’s not.

To date, Wide Receiver hasn’t really amounted to much in the way of interdiction, enforcement or prosecution, despite the huge amounts of surveillance video and audio evidence collected and the millions of dollars expended.

To date, sources tell us the only charges filed in the ongoing investigation are for falsifying Form 4473s. Not much of a return on an investigation that consumed millions of dollars in man-hours and money and placed the lives of law-abiding firearms dealers and their families in jeopardy.

From what Jim writes, this failed operation provided the operating blueprint for Operation Fast and Furious. Given how well Operation Wide Receiver turned out, you would have thought ATF would learned their lesson. I hope Jim will have more on this botched operation over the coming days and weeks.

UPDATE: Jim Shepherd has more on Operation Wide Receiver in The Outdoor Wire for June 16th.

Meanwhile, information collection regarding Operation Wide Receiver, the apparent predecessor of Fast and Furious continues. Since we first reported on the operation run out of the Tucson office, we have seen more information that confirms the fact that both ATF and Justice Department officials were not only aware of the operation five years ago, they have continued efforts to bring the investigation to some sort of closure.

This tickled something in the back of my head about Bill Newell, former SAC of the Phoenix Field Division, and Tucson. Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars had something from CleanUpATF on some such operation that was posted back in February. On February 22-23, there were two postings by a couple of CUATF regulars named Jumper and 1desertrat discussing George Gillett who was being accused at the time of retaliation towards a protected whistle-blower and was Acting SAC of the Phoenix Field Division.

1desertrat said:

This really sickens me to see Gillett getting rewarded for a history of misconduct and incompetence. It also appears he has not taken any heat on approving the Tucson version of phoenix’s “Gun Walker” in Tucson called linebacker or wide receiver (something like that)where he and Newell approved “walking” several hundred assault rifles to Mexico. Also, get this ……he approved the signing (and paying) of the FFL dealer as a CI, paid him as a CI and allowed him to profit from the illegal straw purchases ATF directed him to do…..what a deal! What do you think would be happening right now if one of those guns were linked to the Tucson shooting of Rep Gifford? How about it Senator Grassley…..are these ATF supervisors really the “untouchables”? Retaliation by ATF management is a way of life in ATF. Why……because all know management is corrupt and will pull out all stops to protect one another and NOTHING ever happens!

Jumper responded:

The best part of this post (if you enjoy hypocracy) is that The Retaliator (Gillett) actually tried to terminate two of the smartest and most productive agents in Phoenix for what he personally deemed to be mismanagement of government funds in the payment of an informant. The Retaliators ruling was overturned by higher ups based on their conclusions that Gillett didn’t know what he was talking about but its still pretty funny. Wait till the press gets ahold of Gunrunner II, the Tucson Experiment. Can you imagine the pucker factor Newell and Gillett experience every time a shooting takes place involving a 7.62 round? Give them some coal and turn both of them into a diamond factory.

Very interesting. I get the feeling that if Operation Wide Receiver is added to Operation Fast and Furious it will make those wildfires sweeping Arizona currently look small by comparison.

##################################

Source
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MestaMachine & other Freepers: Am I correct in assuming that contrary to the Obama/Holder operation (in which we have NO evidence that ANY effort was made to track the guns), that every technological effort was made to track the guns, and when that proved to be a flawed strategy, it was shut down?

Other sourced info to refute this AP story?

30 posted on 10/04/2011 3:25:04 PM PDT by thouworm (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: thouworm

Thanks thouworm.

Its seems that the Bush era operation was botched, but doesn’t appear to be deliberate. There was some effort to track the weapons.

Nevertheless, I don’t understand how the incompetent ATF allowed 500 weapons to go. After the first 10 or so, try something else.

What is rather interesting from your post is this:
“...both ATF and Justice Department officials were not only aware of the operation five years ago, they have continued efforts to bring the investigation to some sort of closure.”

Which puts the present Justice department in even deeper water. They didn’t bring it to closure (like they were supposed to). They KNEW how it had been botched.


31 posted on 10/04/2011 3:49:29 PM PDT by kidd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: thouworm

Good info, man! Thanks!


32 posted on 10/04/2011 3:50:22 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

The real story is that the AP is trying to cover obastard’s murderous treason by conflating it with a superficially similar program run under GW that didn’t allow weapons to cross the border.

In other words, the “story” is just standard AP propaganda.

/but you knew that — this is for lurkers


33 posted on 10/04/2011 3:52:29 PM PDT by piytar (The Obama Depression. Say it early, say it often. Why? Because it's TRUE.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: piytar

should be “didn’t intentionally allow”...


34 posted on 10/04/2011 3:55:01 PM PDT by piytar (The Obama Depression. Say it early, say it often. Why? Because it's TRUE.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: maggief

If Bush was involved for 10 minutes - the press will finally have reason to get off their collective butts and cover this story. And they wonder why citizens don’t trust them...


35 posted on 10/04/2011 3:57:58 PM PDT by GOPJ (Bibi would go toe to toe with the devil if it was the only way to save his beloved Israel.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fishtank

Rush pushed a Bush version of this?

I guess we can say the Democrats thought Bush had a really great, marvelous idea here. Because they magnified it what, twentyfold? And it blew up in their faces. Karl Rove you rascal, you really set up that strategery.


36 posted on 10/04/2011 4:02:14 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: piytar

You mean the Bushies actually followed through on the stings, and in the US proper? Wowee!


37 posted on 10/04/2011 4:03:34 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: US Navy Vet

Prosecute ‘em all!


38 posted on 10/04/2011 4:08:03 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: maggief; All

so is the criminal liberal media now putting obama on the same level as GWB?? what happened to not doing business as usual?? change you can believe in??? lmao...


39 posted on 10/04/2011 4:12:01 PM PDT by God luvs America (63.5million pay no federal income tax then vote demoKrat)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thouworm

Good post.

Going back, I am getting ZERO hits on “Operation Wide Receiver.”


40 posted on 10/04/2011 4:18:18 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: sam_paine
We need to bring in the AP folks as well ~ see if this is a story they developed, or just part of the current Obama Regime propaganda operation.

No need to ask for their "sources". We already know who that is.

41 posted on 10/04/2011 4:27:50 PM PDT by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: maggief

“To date in Wide Receiver, nine people have been charged with making false statements in acquisition of firearms and illicit transfer, shipment or delivery of firearms.”

They got nine prosecutions on that tiny operation, but none on Fast & Furious. Seems like BHO is once again applying a different rule to his people.

Why shouldn’t Holder be charged with perjury?


42 posted on 10/04/2011 4:53:45 PM PDT by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Brilliant; muawiyah; thouworm

IMO, it appears “Federal law enforcement officials familiar with ... Operation Wide Receiver” are leaking classified information to a complicit AP.


43 posted on 10/04/2011 5:04:40 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: fishtank

And you are an idiot.


44 posted on 10/04/2011 5:07:11 PM PDT by submarinerswife (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results~Einstein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: maggief

I would not be surprised if they are misrepresenting it, too. They no doubt have an agenda, and the “Bush did it” MO demonstrates what that agenda is.


45 posted on 10/04/2011 5:29:59 PM PDT by Brilliant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: maggief

I thought that also. I even wondered if they set up Sharyl Atkisson to break the original Obama adm “Wide Receiver” story-—only to follow up their one-two punch when needed to say, “Bush gunwalked in ‘Wide Receiver’ too.”

I question (post 30) whether the two administrations conducted the Wide Receiver operation in the same manner.

At the very least, it is the mommy defense: Georgie does it/did it too, so why can’t I/why aren’t you punishing him too.

My second BHO Administration Maxim (first Maxim is “kill as many birds with one stone as possible”) is “When at all possible, use a Bush adm (or any Repub adm) precedent and ramp up the crime/corruption to infinity-—or until somebody is on to us, whichever comes first.”

Bush didn’t run his administration as a criminal conspiracy; Obama does.


46 posted on 10/04/2011 5:40:31 PM PDT by thouworm (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Brilliant

“I would not be surprised if they are misrepresenting it, too.”

Good point. There is nothing “out there” to prove or disprove the AP’s ‘source’.

ZERO.


47 posted on 10/04/2011 5:44:51 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: thouworm
I even wondered if they set up Sharyl Atkisson to break the original Obama adm “Wide Receiver” story-—only to follow up their one-two punch when needed to say, “Bush gunwalked in ‘Wide Receiver’ too.”

Seems logical.

Is there any past reference to "Operation Wide Receiver", "Wide Receiver" and Bush, or ATF, or firearms or ... ???

I cannot find anything, even in news archives.

48 posted on 10/04/2011 5:50:13 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: maggief; MestaMachine

“Is there any past reference to “Operation Wide Receiver”, “Wide Receiver” and Bush, or ATF, or firearms or ... ???

I cannot find anything, even in news archives.”
~~~~~~~~~~`

That was my reason for my questions/article post 30. I am operating on the assumption that the DOJ has some “Wide Receiver” link to Bush, but if true, I question that the operation was conducted in the same manner. The info in post 30, if correct, suggests different methods.

The earliest ref to “Wide Receiver” that I can find is by Sharyl Attkisson on March 8, 2011:

Multiple sources now tell CBS News the questionable tactics were used in more than one operation, and date back as far as 2008 in the Tucson area. One case was called “Wide Receiver.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/08/eveningnews/main20040803.shtml

BUT, back to my post 30 source, dated June 2011. The first link links to this story:

http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/features/224570

In that article they say:

“Mounted approximately five [FIVE] years ago out of the Tucson office, Wide Receiver may have actually been the template used -with equally inept results- by the now-infamous Phoenix operations.

In Operation Wide Receiver, Tucson agents allowed the sales of more than 500 firearms to known straw purchasers. Like Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, the operation apparently backfired.

Some firearms in Wide Receive were equipped with RFID tracking devices. In Wide Receiver, it seems the illegal purchasers seemed more than slightly knowledgeable of the way the ATF and how to take their aerial and electronic tracking procedures down.”

http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/features/224570

MestaMachine (Posts 45, 46, 48): Per Maggief’s question:

Did you ever hear of “Wide Receiver” before Sharyl Attkisson mentioned it in March 2011?

Have you ever seen “Wide Receiver” in connection with GunRUNNER, rather than GunWALKER?


49 posted on 10/04/2011 7:07:44 PM PDT by thouworm (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: thouworm; MestaMachine; STARWISE; LucyT; Dr. Bogus Pachysandra; kidd; kcvl

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0720/p01s05-usfp.html

US steadies its aim at gun trafficking into Mexico

Extra manpower is slated to be deployed to the border to pursue smuggling cases, but the huge scale of the problem dwarfs the government’s response.

By Faye Bowers, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

July 20, 2007

(snip)

To support Mr. Calderon’s war against drug traffickers, the United States is starting to ramp up government-to-government assistance. Few figures are available about the scale of the effort, but US officials say it includes moves such as training for Mexican authorities on how to properly trace guns (including those with filed-off serial numbers) and greater cooperation on gun-smuggling investigations.

The ATF is also slated to get manpower reinforcements later this year. Of 100 new hires, 30 will be sent to states on the southern border to work on gun-smuggling investigations - a move that will more than double the number of agents currently dedicated to such cases, say bureau officials.

Still, the scale of the problem would seem to dwarf the new resources being devoted to combating it. Guns sneaked across the border each month number in the thousands, officials say, noting that it’s as hard to give a precise figure for guns headed south as it is for drug shipments going north. There’s evidence, too, that the weaponry flowing southward is becoming increasingly sophisticated - and lethal. Drug lords’ new weapons of choice, says ATF’s Mr. Newell, are AK-47s and AR-15s, a variant of the US military’s M-16. “On the handgun side, [the drug lords] prefer 9-mm handguns [and] .38 super-caliber and .40 caliber pistols.”

In the two years since the ATF launched Operation Gunrunner - a multiagency assault against gun smuggling - the bureau’s four border divisions (in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles) have boosted the number of gun-trafficking investigations.

“All our field divisions under Gunrunner have shown an increase in trafficking cases to Mexico,” says Dewey Webb, special agent in charge of the Houston division. “Obviously we have to do our everyday stuff ..., but most of our groups are focusing on interdicting weapons going to Mexico.”

Just last week, Mr. Webb’s office and its Mexican counterpart confiscated five AK-47s from a suspect who they say had crossed into Mexico. The Houston area, Webb says, is one of the largest origination points for weapons flowing to the south.

But in a sign that border enforcement there is squeezing the illegal gun trade, traffickers are shifting their routes to Arizona and California.

That means the ATF in Phoenix is also zeroing in on gun stores and gun shows close to the border, to crack down on suspicious transactions like the one on July 7 at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, says Newell, the division head.

In part, the ATF’s presence at gun shows is educational. The bureau often sets up booths at shows to inform buyers and sellers how illicit purchases are made - and to remind the public that buying a gun for someone else is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“The gun shows are a crossroads where you have legitimate people exercising their legal rights, but also where there’s a criminal element purchasing guns for prohibited confederates,” says Thomas Mangan, senior special agent with the ATF in Phoenix. Gun shows are “where firearms trafficking and the drug trade intersect.”

More Mexican nationals and known gang members from southern California are frequenting Arizona gun shows, officials report. At the shows, they especially seek out unlicensed merchants holding “private sales,” because they know those sellers do not have to fill out ATF Form 4473, which provides trace data that US law requires licensed gun dealers to supply upon a gun sale.

Drug cartels, say officials, have weapons procurers - networks that arrange for straw purchases like the one the ATF intercepted earlier this month in Phoenix. In that case, the young woman “flipped” and is now working with officials to identify others in the network. She was one of the “girls” tapped by the young man - whom authorities say they suspect of being a middleman for a cartel - to buy weapons at the gun show. A single mother of three young children, she was paid $100 for each of the three weapons she bought, officials say.

“These middlemen will often call several people they know, have them each buy three or four guns until they have 30 or 40,” says the ATF’s Mr. Mangan. “Then they will send them south across the border.”

According to an internal ATF report summarizing just 10 investigations in the Phoenix office since 2006, the gunrunning probes yielded almost 1,000 firearms probably “bound for Mexico, southern Arizona, and southern California.”

In one of those cases, ATF officials documented an unlicensed merchant who spent at least 100 days selling firearms at gun shows over the course of a year, violating a law that permits such individuals to divest themselves of their gun collections only once in their lifetimes. Agents reported seizing 129 firearms from this dealer, but “due to the fact that most of the firearms sold by the defendant were obtained from secondary sources and then resold, little documentation exists that would link [guns used in crimes] to the defendant,” the report said.

Another ongoing case involves a straw-purchase scheme among a foursome suspected of trafficking 130 firearms to Mexico, southern California, and Arizona. The document states: “To date, 21 [of those 130] firearms have been recovered in crimes, including 16 of them in Mexico. A firearm recovered in Mexico was used in the shooting of a Mexican police officer.”

“Our priority is curbing gunrunning in the Southwest,” says Newell, who currently manages 24 ATF agents working cases here in Phoenix.

A case for stricter gun-show rules?

(snip)


50 posted on 10/04/2011 8:11:28 PM PDT by maggief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-57 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson