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NEWS
August 5, 2011 | By Richard A. Serrano
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration has acknowledged to congressional investigators that her agency provided a supporting role in the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious run by the group's counterparts at the ATF. Michele M. Leonhart, the DEA administrator, said DEA agents primarily helped gather evidence in cases in Phoenix and El Paso, and in the program's single indictment last January that netted just 20 defendants for illegal gun-trafficking....
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 8, 1991
This is in response to "Raid Terrifies Orange Family" (Aug. 29). The article describes as victims the family of Henry Truong, a Vietnamese-born, American-educated electrical engineer, whose members were terrorized by an early-morning "storm trooper"-style raid on their home Aug. 28 by (federal) agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It appears that, although these agents obtained a search warrant, it was only after their raid was over that they discovered that the people they were after (former tenants)
NATIONAL
March 3, 2011 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
A federal operation that allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers so they could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels has lost track of hundreds of firearms, many of which have been linked to crimes, including the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in December. The investigation, known as Operation Fast and Furious, was conducted even though U.S. authorities suspected that some of the weapons might be used in crimes, according to a variety of federal agents who voiced anguished objections to the operation.
NATIONAL
March 22, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano
Manuel Celis-Acosta, the chief suspect in the ATF's "Fast and Furious" investigation who was caught but released at the U.S.-Mexico border in May 2010, was also stopped and released two months earlier while in possession of a Colt .38-caliber pistol purchased illegally under the gun-tracking operation. The revelation that officials twice declined to arrest their prime suspect shows that agents were keenly aware of Celis-Acosta's activities yet repeatedly turned down opportunities to charge him with felony offenses and bring a quick end to the Fast and Furious probe.
OPINION
April 28, 2013 | By Tom Zoellner and Sam Kleiner
The mayhem in Boston the week of April 15 was a reminder of how an American city can be paralyzed by a homemade bomb. The same kinds of improvised explosive devices that menaced U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan can easily be deployed by freelance terrorists or madmen trying to send a message, incite panic or just create a media spectacle. The Tsarnaev brothers were identified because of surveillance videotape, but the FBI might have been able to do it faster if tiny plastic markers had been part of the small-arms propellant packed into the pressure-cooker bombs.
NATIONAL
November 10, 2010 | By Richard A. Serrano, Tribune Washington Bureau
A much-touted federal effort to keep U.S. firearms out of the Mexican drug wars is unwieldy, mismanaged and fraught with "significant weaknesses" that could doom gun smuggling enforcement on the border to failure, an internal Justice Department review concluded Tuesday. Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives focus only on small gun sales and do not share information with law enforcement officials on both sides of the border, the review said.
NATIONAL
March 8, 2011 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
U.S. authorities in Mexico charged with stemming the flow of U.S. weapons to drug cartels have been hampered by shortfalls in staffing, agents with limited Spanish skills and the difficulty of recruiting new agents to the dangerous posting because they can't officially carry weapons, current and former staff members say. Facing new accusations that investigators with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed buyers to...
NEWS
February 2, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano
House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious operation threatened Thursday to seek a contempt of Congress citation against Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., saying his Department of Justice has refused to turn over key documents in the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms gun-tracking investigation and that the Obama administration is trying to hide its involvement in the program that allowed hundreds of U.S. weapons to fall into the hands...
NEWS
September 19, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - Fourteen federal law enforcement officials - from field agents in Arizona to top managers in the ATF and Department of Justice in Washington - created a “significant danger to public safety” under Operation Fast and Furious and those still employed were referred for possible job discipline for carrying out a gun-walking operation that saturated the Southwest Border with more than 2,000 illegally-purchased firearms. Less than an hour after those findings were announced Wednesday by the Justice Department's Inspector General's office, two of the individuals - Kenneth Melson, the former head of the ATF, and Deputy Assistant Atty.
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