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Second gun used in ICE agent murder linked to ATF undercover operation
CBS News ^ | February 22, 2012 | Sharyl Attkisson

Posted on 02/23/2012 11:48:23 AM PST by neverdem

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Feb. 15 2011 after he was attacked by unknown assailants while driving between Monterrey, Mexico, and Mexico City. One year later, his family still lacks answers about his death.(Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Prosecutors recently sentenced a Texas man, Manuel Barba, for trafficking a weapon connected to the murder of Immigration and Customs (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata. Nobody was more astonished to learn of the case than Zapata's parents, who didn't know that Barba had been arrested or linked to their son's murder.

"The family was obviously surprised to learn that there was a case involving a weapon linked to the Zapata incident," attorney Trey Martinez told CBS News. Martinez represents Zapata's parents and the surviving ICE agent in the assault, Victor Avila. "They were surprised they had never been contacted in the capacity as victims so they could give a response or some kind of reaction at the time of sentencing."

Barba was sentenced to 100 months in prison on January 30th. When we asked why the Zapatas weren't contacted, prosecutors in Houston told CBS News they only handled the weapons charges: conspiracy, false statements and exportation/receipt of firearms. Zapata's actual murder "is being handled by another US Attorney's office and... is separate and apart from the firearms case that was handled by our district," said a spokeswoman. She added the firearms offenses "are crimes that do not involve victims in the legal sense of the word and therefore, notifications are not part of the legal process."

In a related development, CBS News has obtained documents showing that Barba was under ATF surveillance for at least six months before a rifle he trafficked was used in Zapata's murder. Zapata's government vehicle was ambushed by suspected cartel thugs in Mexico Feb. 15, 2011.

Documents indicate ATF opened its case against Barba, entitled "Baytown Crew," in June of 2010. During the investigation, court records state Barba recruited straw purchasers and "facilitated the purchase and exportation of at least 44 firearms" including assault rifles. On August 20, 2010 Barba took delivery of the WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle later used in Zapata's murder, obliterated its serial number, and sent it to Mexico with nine others just like it. Nearly two months later, on Oct. 8, 2010, ATF agents recorded a phone call in which Barba "spoke about the final disposition of ... firearms to Mexico and also about the obliterating of the serial numbers before they were trafficked." Barba told straw purchasers the guns were destined for the Zeta drug cartel.

A warrant wasn't issued for Barba's arrest until four months later; coincidentally, the day before a rifle he trafficked was used against Zapata.

Barba is now the second weapons trafficker who had been under ATF surveillance to be linked to Zapata's murder. As CBS News previously reported, ATF had also been watching suspect Otilio Osorio during the time he trafficked a different weapon used in Zapata's assault. Records show ATF watched on Nov. 9, 2010 as Osorio, his brother Ranferi and Kelvin Leon Morrison transferred a cache of illegal weapons to a confidential informant but failed to arrest the men at the time.

The government has kept a close hold on nearly all information surrounding Zapata's murder, denying the family's Freedom of Information requests on the basis of an ongoing investigation. The Zapata's attorney says they will keep pursuing the information by "whatever means necessary."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Mexico; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: atf; banglist; corruption; dea; dhs; doj; fastandfurious; fbi; fraud; gunrunner; gunwalker; holder; ice; obama
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To: nobamanomore
I have owned and shot absolutely hundreds if not a thousand guns in my lifetime. I have shot 60000 registered trap targets, truckloads of .45ACP in pistol matches, hunted Africa, Alaska, USA, and Canada, not one single person has been killed with one of mine, and I am carrying one now. Eric Holder and Obama have never owned a firearm, but are responsible for at least two American LEO deaths as well as a couple hundred Mexicans that we know of.

Somehow we are the ones who are a danger to our fellow man despotic overlords.


21 posted on 02/23/2012 5:34:22 PM PST by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: neverdem
An estimated 200 Mexicans have been killed by Holder's idoicy. WHO CARES???

Answer: Not Obama, not ABC, CNN, NBC or NYT!

22 posted on 02/23/2012 8:14:03 PM PST by cookcounty (Newt 2012: ---> Because he got it DONE.)
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To: PGalt; neverdem; TigersEye

Nolo Contendre over at AR15. Com occasionally pulls docs from PACER. The guy is a hell of a lawyer...

23 posted on 02/23/2012 8:51:20 PM PST by Dead Corpse (Steampunk- Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!

24 posted on 02/23/2012 8:51:32 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Dead Corpse

I was being facetious of course. I haven’t given up that this mess will catch up with the real perps but my hope is getting pretty slim. Now even the straw buyers are cutting deals.

25 posted on 02/23/2012 9:07:16 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: neverdem
Paging Mr Eric Holder. Please pick up the Red Courtesy phone.
And your Orange Federal Prisoner Jumpsuit after your phone call.

Thank you.
We The People

26 posted on 02/24/2012 7:25:37 AM PST by Condor51 (Yo Hoffa, so you want to 'take out conservatives'. Well okay Jr - I'm your Huckleberry)
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