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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

U.S. Government Caught Smuggling Guns To Criminals In Puerto Rico and Honduras

Posted by Alexander Higgins - July 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm


In the latest developments in the ATF gun smuggling scandal evidence emerges showing the Feds have been smuggling guns to criminals in Puerto Rico and Honduras, with guns making it as far as Columbia.

That was followed by another cartel leader being arrested and telling police his cartel was exclusively supplied guns by the Feds.

Meanwhile, critics pointed out that while Obama was smuggling guns to criminals behind the scenes, he used the violence being perpetrated by those criminals with government supplied guns asjustification to take guns away from U.S. citizens.
The latest developments in scandal now provide evidence that the U.S. government’s gun smuggling operations have not been limited to Mexico but have also included operations to smuggle guns to Puerto Rico and Honduras.
Those guns have been tied to several crimes and have made their way to nations as far away as Columbia.
The New American reports:

Another ATF Arms Sales Scandal: “Operation Castaway”

Written by James Heiser
Monday, 18 July 2011 11:47
The new scandal centering on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) makes it clear that “Operation Fast and Furious” was not the agency’s only program for putting firearms into the hands of foreign criminals. It is becoming clear that a second misguided effort to track arms sales to the Third World — “Operation Castaway” — ended up supplying weapons to criminals in Honduras and Puerto Rico which were used in violent crimes.
Operation Castaway — like its sibling, Operation Fast and Furious — began with the purported mission of decreasing the illegal sale of firearms. In the latter operation, the ATF’s Phoenix office used gun stores in the Southwest to track so-called “straw purchases” that placed firearms in the hands of foreign criminals. (In a “straw purchase,” a person, usually an American citizen, buys firearms with the intention of reselling them to individuals who cannot legally own them.) “Operation Castaway” allegedly operated in Florida with a similar mission, and ended in the same way: Rather than the “sting” operation being contained in a way that would have prevented the weapons from getting into the hands of foreign criminals, the firearms purchased in Florida flowed freely into Central America.
Members of Congress are calling for further investigation of Operation Castaway. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) has written to Attorney General Eric Holder and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson in an attempt to gain more information regarding the operation, only to receive an evasive response similar to that given to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).According to a Fox News story, the guns placed into the hands of criminals through the Florida operation have been traced to several specific crimes:
Court documents from the Operation Castaway takedown claim that at least five firearms from the illegal sales of the main suspect ended up later being connected to crimes, several in Puerto Rico. One pistol was recovered in Colombia after being used in a homicide.
But an ATF official told FoxNews.com that the investigation, which targeted Florida gun dealer Hugh Crumpler III, did not appear to be designed like Fast and Furious. Though Justice and ATF have not yet formally responded to Bilirakis, the official explained that ATF got involved in the Crumpler case after the fact, and was not using the investigation to track firearms sales across international lines. “We became involved with Crumpler at the first opportunity of realizing that criminal activity was afoot,” the official said. “Once we were able to put our case together, establish probable cause … then at that point, we did so at the soonest opportunity to stop the illegal activity.”
While Operation Castaway was clearly a much smaller scale undertaking than Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF still managed to lose control of the firearms involved to the point that weapons were carried out of the United States and used in the commission of crimes.
[...]
Meanwhile as the Obama Administration continues to lie about there knowledge of the gun smuggling operations, investigative journalists have compiled a mountain of proof showing that top level officials did in fact know about the operation.
The evidence that has emerged includes millions of dollars of taxpayer funds allocated from Obama’s stimulus funds for the operations and several press releases and press conferences by top officials during which officials stated the operations. While clearly acknowledging that programs were being conducted the dirty little detail that operations were in fact gun smuggling operations was left out of the feds PR campaign.
In fact, while evidence clearly shows Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the program during the time he testified under oath to congress disavowing his knowledge the existence of the gun smuggling programs.
The New American reports:

U.S. Taxes Bought ATF Guns for Cartels; Holder Lied

Written by Alex Newman
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 16:07
As the scandal surrounding the Obama administration’s operation to put high-powered guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels continues to grow, new revelations suggest that American taxpayers might have actually paid for the weapons through the stimulus bill and multiple agencies. On top of that, Attorney General Eric Holder apparently lied about his knowledge of the scheme.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) is facing growing pressure after whistleblowers exposed “Project Gunrunner” and “Operation Fast and Furious” to public and congressional scrutiny. It turns out many of the guns shipped to Mexican crime syndicates with ATF permission have ended up at crime scenes on both sides of the border. And at least three of the weapons were involved in the slaying of U.S. federal agents.
But despite the Obama administration’s frantic efforts to cover up and minimize the fiasco while demonizing guns, the furor continues to grow. And more federal agencies are now coming under scrutiny for their roles in the plot.
Acting ATF boss Kenneth Melson (standing right in picture above), recentlythreatened with contempt of Congress charges for obstructing the investigation, revealed a startling new twist to investigators late last week. At least some of the criminals supposedly being armed with ATF permission for “investigations” were actually working for the FBI and the DEA — unbeknownst to the ATF. Or so the story goes.
[...]Even more explosive was a recent statement by one of the founders of a top Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas. In a taped interrogation released to the public, Jesús “El Mamito” Aguilar told Mexican police earlier in July that his crime syndicate was getting weapons directly from the U.S. government. Similarly, a top operative in the Sinaloa drug cartel explained to a federal court earlier this year that he was trafficking drugs with permission from the U.S government.
Beyond the question of whether or not the U.S government has been deliberately aiding gun and drug trafficking, however, there’s still more. Top administration officials — and even Obama himself — have made headlines in recent days after reportedly getting caught in blatant lies.
Attorney General Holder, for example, is under intense fire. He told Congress in May of this year that he had “probably” learned about the government’s involvement in gun running only in “the last few weeks.”
But a couple of years ago, he was bragging about the scandalous program by name during a speech in Mexico. “My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner,” he boasted to an anti-gun crowd outside of Mexico City in 2009.
Similarly, Obama said he neither approved nor had knowledge of the program to arm the cartels. But the so-called “stimulus” bill, which the President signed, contained an explicit appropriation of tens of millions of dollars in funding for the scheme.
“The evidence suggests that [Border Patrol] Agent [Brian] Terry’s death was financed by the president’s stimulus package with the full knowledge and support of Attorney General Holder,” charged the Investor’s Business Daily in a scathing editorial entitled “The Stimulation of Murder” about the ATF program. “President Obama needs to man up about Gunrunner and either take responsibility for this tragedy or admit, under oath if need be, that even he didn’t know what was in the stimulus bill.”
Critics of the administration have for weeks been raising the possibility that federal officials may have been deliberately arming the cartels for ulterior motives. But even as the gun trafficking scandal explodes, the Obama administration is making good on threats to impose more unconstitutional restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment rights by executive decree.
[...]
Pumas Unleashed reports:

Obama’s “Fast and Furious” has a gun running Twin; “Operation Castaway” in Tampa, Florida..

by Tellurian
[...]
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., penned a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson inquiring about a program known as “Operation Castaway.” Other top lawmakers are also starting to look into it, though ATF claims the program was above board and not similar to Operation Fast and Furious at all.
The Justice Department says Castaway was an anti-gun trafficking operation handled by an ATF division in Florida. It resulted last year in a slew of convictions for defendants the department claimed provided firearms linked to violent crimes around the world. But in light of questions surrounding the Fast and Furious probe out of ATF’s Phoenix division, Bilirakis questioned whether Castaway bore the same suspicious hallmarks.
Fast and Furious came under fire for allegedly allowing guns to “walk” across the Mexico border in an attempt to track their migration into cartel hands. Weapons tied to the program were found at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder last year.
Bilirakis expressed concern about reports that the strategy “may not have been limited to weapons trafficking to Mexico.”
He asked Holder and Melson whether “similar programs included the possible trafficking of arms to dangerous criminal gangs in Honduras with the knowledge of the ATF’s Tampa Field Division” and a Justice Department office, via Castaway.
Bilirakis’ letter specifically asked whether the Tampa division participated in a “gun walking” scheme allowing guns to go to Honduras. He also asked whether ATF or DOJ know if any of the firearms ended up in the hands of the “notorious” MS-13 gang — a violent gang spread across Central America, Mexico and theUnited States.

Court documents from the Operation Castaway takedown claim that at least five firearms from the illegal sales of the main suspect ended up later being connected to crimes, several inPuerto Rico

One pistol was recovered in Colombia after being used in a homicide.
[...]
The lengthy court document states that the ATF noticed Crumpler’s numerous purchases in a national firearms database — it turned out he was later selling them at gun shows. According to the plea agreement, the ATF had an undercover agent buy from Crumpler and later observed the suspect at several gun shows in late 2009, selling to numerous buyers without a license. At one point, he told an undercover agent that he knew the firearms were making their way to Honduras.
By early 2010, ATF agents were seizing guns sold by Crumpler and within weeks confronted him, putting a stop to the operation.
Despite ATF’s claims, the issue is starting to pop up on the radar screen of other lawmakers, including those leading the charge to find out more about Fast and Furious — Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
[...]
An article on Examiner.com initially claimed the Tampa division was “walking guns” to Honduras in a way similar to Fast and Furious.
Bilirakis spokesman Creighton Welch said his boss saw the report, but also received “several calls from folks who I guess you could say were familiar with the situation in Tampa.”
He declined to go into further detail about where the tips were coming from.
“We’re placing a lot of firearms in potentially the wrong hands,” Welch said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions for a potentially very dangerous situation.”
[...]
“We find it extremely troubling that the United States government would willfully allow weapons to be acquired by dangerous criminal and drug trafficking organizations, in direct contravention of our strategic and national interests,” they wrote.
[...]

Fast And Furious Scandal: A Watergate For Obama?

Border: A 2-year-old video shows a high Justice official saying “the president has directed us,” including the attorney general, to speed up Project Gunrunner and the offshoot that got a border agent killed.
This tape has no 18-minute gap, and while it does not feature the president himself, the March 24, 2009, video may rival the tape that turned a “third-rate burglary” into a presidential resignation. No one died at Watergate. Agent Brian Terry lost his life in the administration’s obsessive pursuit of gun control.
In addition to Agent Terry, Immigration Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata was also killed in a separate incident by a weapon allowed to “walk” into Mexico from the U.S. as part of the administration’s third-rate alleged attempt to track and catch gun traffickers.
The video shows Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who would resign nine months later after less than a year’s service, telling reporters at a Department of Justice briefing of major policy initiatives to fight the Mexican drug cartels.
[...]

“The president has directed us to take action to fight these cartels,”

Ogden begins, “and Attorney General Holder and I are taking several new and aggressive steps as part of the administration’s comprehensive plan.”
At the president’s direction, Ogden said, the administration’s plan included DOJ’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “increasing its efforts by adding 37 new employees in three new offices, using $10 million in Recovery Act funds and redeploying 100 personnel to the Southwest border in the next 45 days to fortify its Project Gunrunner,” of which Operation Fast and Furious would be a part.
As we have noted, Attorney General Eric Holder himself gave a speech to Mexican authorities in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on April 2, 2009, taking credit for Gunrunner as well as Fast and Furious for himself and the Obama administration.
[...]

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/07/19/government-caught-smuggling-guns-criminals-puerto-rico-honduras-36071/

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