• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Operation Fast and Furious Guns Found at 11 U.S. Crime Scenes

    News broke yesterday that three officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who were instrumental in the agency’s botched Fast and Furious operation had been promoted. That was jarring enough, given the large and seemingly growing scope of the scandal.

    Now we find out that Fast and Furious was an even bigger disaster than initially thought. Not only were guns from the operation discovered at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder, but an additional 57 Fast and Furious firearms were recovered at 11 different violent crime scenes in the American Southwest.

    The gunwalking tactic – which ATF officials have denied and admitted to, sometimes in the span of only a few minutes – was devised as a means to learn how cartels illegally obtained firearms from the United States. But the vast majority of the roughly 1,500 guns ATF estimates were sold to “straw buyers” were not tracked by agency officials.

    Many of those guns did not even make it back to the cartels in Mexico, but were instead sold or handed off to operatives in the United States – hence the 11 crimes involving Fast and Furious guns north of the border.

    The Los Angeles Times reported today:

    The department did not provide details about the crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, where a total of 42 weapons from the operation were seized at two crime scenes.

    The new numbers, which expand the scope of the danger the program posed to U.S. citizens over a 14-month period, are contained in a letter that Justice Department officials turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

    In the letter, obtained by The Times on Tuesday, Justice Department officials also reported that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials advised them that the agency’s acting director, Kenneth E. Melson, “likely became aware” of the operation as early as December 2009, a month after it began.

    Melson has said he did not learn about how the operation was run until January of this year, when it was canceled…

    But a source close to the controversy, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said that as early as January 2010, just after the operation began, weapons had turned up at crime scenes in Phoenix, Nogales, Douglas and Glendale in Arizona, and in El Paso. The largest haul was 40 weapons at one crime scene in El Paso.

    In all, 57 of the operation’s weapons were recovered at those six crime scenes, in addition to the two seized where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.

    Despite the scandal – which seems to grow even bigger each week – the ATF recently decided to promote three agents that were intimately involved in devising the operation.

    The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.

    All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

    The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Operation Fast and Furious Guns Found at 11 U.S. Crime Scenes

    1. Bobbie says:

      this is absolutely, abhorrently inhumane! the feds are decreasing the population anyway they can make it look like they're not. fast and furious feds are now incoherent, incompetent, inexcusable!!! Immediate corrections and immediate actions are immediately necessary!!! these agents are so beneath American!!!! not even man enough to face their own mistakes so let the law force them to. Ignorance is not bliss when death is reality!!!!!

      • Peg says:

        I cannot believe these "idiots" were promoted. So, let me see if I understand this- you screw up – let guns be bought by straw buyers – kill a Border Patrol Agent, doing his job, and murders here in
        El Paso and Arizona and you get promoted for being an "outstanding field agent?" anything wrong with this picture?

    2. sononthe_beach says:

      Likely promoted as a quid pro quo for their silence. This supposed "transparent" administration will go down in history as one of the most disengenuous, secretive, biased, and incompetent governments the USA has ever had.

    3. jeff says:

      Who will sue the FEDS and hold them accountable for this mess

    4. carol,az says:

      Yes, it's called American terrorism leveled by our appointed heads of law enforcement agencies leveled against their own men and women.
      We have no problem calling it what it is, here. Legal gov't homicide.
      Thank you for posting the recent article.
      This website has been very pro-active on this issue and many of us in AZ thank you for the truth in reporting.
      Do you finally understand why our country refuse to secure our border here in America?
      From day one on this issue, our failed leadership has supported the war on our border and supported terrorism with Mexico. As difficult as it is for you to believe this there, we have known it here, for over two years.
      Billions of dollars a day continue to be exchanged through banking. It's always about the money.

      The murder continues (24/7) and other website that come from South of the border to us, are so graphic, that you would think they came from Somalia.

    5. MildlyModest says:

      I think its worth pointing out, that there is an issue here larger than that of having American guns making it into Mexico's drug cartels. The fact that Federal agencies were incompetant or crooked enough to try this scheme is pretty apauling. The fact that Mexico's drug cartels are now North America's cartels is down right pathetic…

    6. The General says:

      If fast and furious had a little more time say 1-2 years ,it would have been a total success for the adminisation. What people have failed to realize is the true intent of the program. It was NOT to track gun movement in the cartels, that is the cover story. What do drug dealers do with guns? they protect their tradeing territory. We see this in Mexico all the time, gun fights everywhere and anywhere. In the mails, at the resorts, downtown at government buildings, etc. The true purpose of the fast and furious program was to get massive gun fights on American soil so that Americans would give up the 2nd amendment. The guns were suppose to defend trade territories in the U.S., so that americans would die and americans would be ready to have all guns confiscated by Obama. Imagine automatic gun fire at the local Walmart. Americans would scream for action and Obama would be the savior by banning all guns. The plan put forth by Obama himself was working. It just didn't have enough time for enough guns to make the trip back to the U.S. from Mexico. Obama trusted the cartels to defend their tradeing territories and they did. The 3 promotions are for the silence of the field operators of the plan.

    7. JR Klock says:

      This is the biggest scandal in the history of the Republic. Compare this to Watergate and the fraudulant allegations of a crime during in the Valery Plame scandal. No one was murdered in either of those scandals which were investigated by special prosecutors.

      At least one American Law Enforcement Officer was killed, and scores of innocent Mexican citizens have been slaughtered yet there is no outcry from the press and no special prosecutor leading the investigation. Any reasonable person would wonder what in the heck is going on in Washington…………

    8. Joe Wilson says:

      The U.S. Government is run by a bunch of idiots. Most are so into themselves and in reality I am not sure they can even tie there shoes. I hope we can make it to the next election and gain control of the situation and make the corrections.

    9. DaveJ says:

      Talk about damn lies! 'It was a tracking operation", sure, they didn't even track them long enough to see if they got to Mexico. I usually find conspriacy theories ridiculous, but this time…? The whole tracking thing just doesn't wash. What did they think they were doiing, or, what were they really doing?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.