Friday, November 3, 2023

Senator Exposes Alleged ATF Firearm Trafficking to Mexico; Questions Agency's Oversight and Whistleblower Claims


Keen observers of gun policy may remember the controversial Operation Fast and Furious from the Obama era. This operation, carried out by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), involved allowing gun traffickers suspected of illegal purchases to obtain firearms. The objective was to track these firearms to uncover larger criminal networks. In certain cases, ATF even advised Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to proceed with transactions they deemed suspicious. However, the operation did not halt the flow of these firearms, allowing them to end up in Mexico.

Find Guns & Ammo on Gun Coyote | The Gun Deals Search Engine

On a tragic note, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fatally shot on December 14, 2010, by criminals near the Mexican border. Weapons found at the scene were later linked to Operation Fast and Furious.

Join the Gun Coyote Forum

A decade past this incident, the ATF faces scrutiny over new claims suggesting another instance of linked arms trafficking into Mexico. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a probing letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach on October 18, addressing whistleblower claims concerning a former ATF employee's involvement in gun smuggling.

In the details outlined by Senator Grassley, there were accounts of an ATF worker, stationed in Tijuana, Mexico, who reportedly confessed to smuggling guns from the U.S. into Mexico for an extended period. This individual apparently procured firearm parts from U.S. internet and retail outlets for trafficking purposes. Internal memos from the ATF revealed that this person delivered these parts to a collaborator in Mexico, who then assembled and sold the weapons within Mexico, some allegedly to a state judicial official.

Senator Grassley critiqued the ATF for its seemingly insufficient investigation into these allegations, pointing out the lack of inquiry into possible connections between the trafficker and Mexican cartels, the extent of the trafficking network, potential accomplices, or involvement of other ATF staff.

Furthermore, the senator highlighted the lenient treatment that the accused ATF employee received upon discovery of the illicit activities, describing the disciplinary actions taken as more akin to an administrative HR issue than a criminal matter.

A noteworthy element in uncovering this alleged scheme was the involvement of a firearm dealer's tip, which points to the importance of cooperation between the ATF and firearms dealers – a relationship that may be strained under current policies.

Recent actions by the Biden administration's ATF have put pressure on gun dealers. A declared "zero tolerance" stance on "rogue gun dealers" could potentially impede the collaborative efforts that once played a significant role in discovering illegal activities, as indicated by concerns from law enforcement veterans.

This case, alongside Operation Fast and Furious, underscores the need for greater accountability within government operations, both in the U.S. and in Mexico, rather than deflecting blame onto American citizens who abide by their Second Amendment rights.

No comments:

Post a Comment