September 6, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice inspector general's office is close to issuing its long-awaited findings in the Fast and Furious case -- perhaps as early as next week -- after top Justice officials provided their final comments about the failed gun-tracking operation on the Southwest border. In a letter to Capitol Hill, Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said his investigators now must pore over wiretap records, grand jury material and sealed court records to make sure nothing that should not be disclosed is inadvertently included in the final report.
December 12, 2012 |
PHOENIX -- A federal judge sentenced a Phoenix man Wednesday to nearly five years in prison for purchasing firearms for a Mexican drug cartel, triggering a chain of events which included the death of an elite Border Patrol agent and the unraveling of a failed federal gun-tracking operation called Fast and Furious. Jaime Avila Jr., 25, was a “straw purchaser” of weapons, including two firearms found at the scene of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry. He was killed two years ago this week.
August 17, 2011 |
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Wednesday that three supervisors in its controversial Fast and Furious gun-trafficking investigation were transferred to lateral jobs, not promoted. "They did not receive salary or grade increases, nor did they assume positions with greater responsibility," the agency said in a short statement. The Times reported Tuesday that William G. McMahon, William D. Newell and David Voth, three key supervisors in the Phoenix-run investigation that went awry, were promoted to management positions at the ATF's Washington headquarters.
December 19, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Two of the weapons found after a drug cartel gunfight last month in Sinaloa, Mexico, that killed five people have been traced back to the U.S. - one lost during the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, the other originally purchased by a supervisory ATF agent who helped oversee the botched gun-tracking operation. The discovery of the firearms - an AK-47 assault rifle and a 5.7-millimeter pistol - provides new evidence that some of the 2,000 weapons lost under Fast and Furious, and others as well, continue to flow freely across the U.S.-Mexico border and likely will be turning up at violent crime scenes for years to come.
May 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The former top federal prosecutor in Arizona retaliated against the lead whistle-blower in the Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal by leaking an internal report that suggested the whistle-blower once favored allowing illegal gun sales as a way to track weapons to drug cartels in Mexico, the Justice Department's inspector general's office said Monday. Dennis K. Burke, who resigned from the U.S. attorney's office following the Fast and Furious matter, told investigators that he leaked an internal memorandum to a television producer in which ATF Special Agent John Dodson discussed an earlier case involving gun trafficking on the border.
March 21, 2012 |
When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show. Had Celis-Acosta simply been held when he was arrested by theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in May 2010, the investigation that led to the loss of hundreds of illegal guns and may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent could have been closed early.
September 19, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - A gun-trafficking investigation on the Southwest border that went awry was a "significant danger to public safety," according to an independent government report that recommended that the Department of Justice consider disciplining 14 officials, from field agents in Arizona to top managers in Washington. Less than an hour after those findings were announced, two of the officials - Kenneth E. Melson, the former acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Deputy Assistant Atty.
December 24, 2011 |
In a confidential deposition with congressional investigators, the then-head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives blamed agents, field supervisors and even his top command for never advising him that for more than a year, his agency allowed illegal gun sales along the southwestern U.S. border. The deposition, which was taken in July and was recently obtained by the Washington bureau, shows that Kenneth E. Melson was irate. Even his chief intelligence officer at ATF headquarters was upset with the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious, but did little to shut it down, Melson complained.
June 27, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Conservative Democrats began to desert Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. on the eve of a historic contempt of Congress vote, as Republicans upped the ante by planning to take Holder to court themselves if he doesn't hand over 1,500 pages in documents on a failed gun-tracking operation. House vote-counters predicted that 20 to 31 Democrats would desert their party largely because the influential National Rifle Assn. threatened to oppose lawmakers who supported the attorney general.