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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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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.
NATIONAL
September 2, 2011 | By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau
Newly obtained emails show that the White House was better informed about a failed gun-tracking operation on the border with Mexico than was previously known. Three White House national security officials were given some details about the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious. The operation allowed firearms to be illegally purchased, with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the effort went out of control after agents lost track of many of the weapons. The supervisor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in Phoenix specifically mentioned Fast and Furious in at least one email to a White House national security official, and two other White House colleagues were briefed on reports from the supervisor, according to White House emails and a senior administration official.
NATIONAL
March 4, 2011 | Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
By Kim Murphy, 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.
NEWS
November 13, 1997 | ELIZABETH SHOGREN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A "rogue operation" within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has accelerated approval of import permits for 150,000 modified assault weapons, despite President Clinton's clear intent to keep such guns out of the country, administration sources said Wednesday. The permits were approved "in an expedited manner" by a group of ATF agents who "knew full well that the weapons were all but banned by the president," said one senior administration official. The official noted that Clinton is on the verge of issuing an executive order barring imports of the rapid-fire arms.
BUSINESS
May 3, 1987
Generally speaking, media coverage of the defense business is characterized by slanted, sensational, anti-industry diatribes. But Ralph Vartabedian's Advanced Tactical Fighter story ("Subcontractors See Red When Looking at ATF," April 19) is damn good. When it comes to publicity, civil servants are notorious cowards, so we have seen government officials increasingly criticizing the industry to satisfy congressional and media critics. There also is increasing direct government participation in the actual management of defense programs.
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.
NATIONAL
December 22, 2011 | By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau
A reputed Mexican drug cartel leader was charged in the ambush slaying this year of a U.S. immigration officer in Mexico — a killing that set off a massive search for the assailants on both sides of the border. Julian Zapata Espinoza, an alleged chief with the Zetas cartel, pleaded not guilty in a brief court appearance Wednesday in the killing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata on Feb. 15. He and another agent, who was wounded, were ambushed in their car by a convoy of vehicles in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.
NATIONAL
August 8, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Kim Murphy
OAK CREEK, Wis. -- Wade Michael Page, the man investigators say killed six people and critically wounded three others at a Sikh temple Sunday before dying in a shootout with police, did not appear dangerous when he bought a handgun at a shop last month, the shop owner says. Kevin Nugent, owner of the Shooters Shop, about eight miles southwest of Milwaukee in West Allis, Wis., told The Times that Page came looking for a handgun on July 28. “He asked about a 9 millimeter,” Nugent said Tuesday.
NATIONAL
February 2, 2011 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
In a sign of the cost of widespread U.S. weapons smuggling into Mexico, federal law enforcement sources have confirmed that two guns, part of a series of purchases that were being monitored by authorities, were found at the scene of the firefight that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona. Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to adequately monitor the movement of the guns toward the southern border, in part because current laws and low levels of staffing.
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