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- 06-16-2012, 03:44 PM #1
Murdered ICE agent,Jaime Zapata, was investigating Fast and Furious
A back door amnesty certainly moves the spotlight from Holder and the investigation of Fast and Furious. Could Napolitano be charged with lying to congress also - maybe.
Blogger Vanderboegh reports murdered ICE agent investigating Fast and Furious
Gun Rights Examiner
In a second bombshell report this week, citizen investigative journalist Mike Vanderboegh is reporting this morning on the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog that Congressional investigators have viewed “an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Report of Investigation (ROI) from August 2010 describing 80 weapons seized in an arms smuggling interdiction between Phoenix, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas. Of these weapons, the majority (approximately 50) were noted to have come from Operation Fast & Furious in Arizona…”
“The ROI was written and signed by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was shot dead in an ambush at a fake roadblock in San Luis Potosí, Mexico on 15 February 2011,” Vanderboegh reveals.
While the weapons found at the Zapata murder scene were not from among the Fast and Furious guns, this revelation is profoundly significant, because it directly contradicts sworn testimony by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
“I have no information to that effect, no. I don’t know one way or the other,” she replied to a direct question on any Fast and Furious connection by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.
Insider sources tell Vanderboegh DHS “is covering up something big” and that “both DHS and DOJ are ‘in a deep panic’ that ‘their carefully contrived cover-up is breaking down.’"
Vanderboegh has contacted the offices of Rep. McCaul and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, for comment, with no response at this writing.
“This may be the most important story I've written this year, and once again I ask my readers to help me get the truth out around the roadblock of the dinosaur media,” Vanderboegh writes in a postscript to his story.
“We are at a critical juncture here,” he tells Gun Rights Examiner. “You need to let your readers know that, and ask them to once again call their congressmen, especially if they’re on the [House Oversight and Government Reform] Committee, to beat them up and make them aware there will be a political price for not voting for contempt.”
“The next few days are where we’ve got to pull out all the stops,” he adds. “Hit everybody up, including the press. I don’t care how many times--if they’re in a position to influence things, just keep beating on the subject until they’re sick of hearing about it.”
Blogger Vanderboegh reports murdered ICE agent investigating Fast and Furious - National gun rights | Examiner.com
Family demands to know if weapons used to kill ICE agent could have been seized before they crossed into Mexico
By William La Jeunesse
Published March 29, 2012
The family of a murdered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent is demanding to know if U.S. agencies could have seized the weapons used to kill him before they crossed the border into Mexico.
Amador and Mary Zapata also believe their son Jaime, who was only in Mexico for 9 days before his death, was not adequately trained for his assignment, a trip on one of Mexico’s most dangerous roads in a $160,000 armored Suburban.
“We want to find out the truth,” Amador Zapata said from the living room of his Brownsville, Texas home. “Who thought of this program? How come they let those weapons go – when they knew who had bought them? How come they let them go through the border – without trying to stop them? That’s what we want to know.”
The Zapatas had four sons employed by ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Jaime, the second oldest, was gunned down while driving from Mexico City to Monterrey last February by assassins for the Zeta cartel. The guns used to kill him were purchased in Texas.
“I don’t know anything now that I didn’t know the first day,” said Mary Zapata, surrounded by photos and memorabilia associated with her son’s life. “I expected them (ICE supervisors) to sit with us and give us a report. This is what we have so far. We do not know.”
The Zapatas hired former Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Martinez and Ray Thomas, a south Texas litigator, to find out the facts.
“The family would like answers. The family would like closure,” said Martinez. “We don’t know if this is a gun walking operation but there is circumstantial evidence that there was.”
Martinez is referring to two guns found February 15, 2011 at the murder scene in Mexico.
One was purchased in August 2010 near Houston on behalf of accused drug dealer Manuel Gomez Barba. The other in October 2010 by a Dallas trafficking ring that included Otilio Osorio, his brother Ranferi and their neighbor Kelvin Morrison.
According to the indictment, Barba began sourcing weapons through straw buyers in June 2010. He took custody of some 70 weapons through February 2011, readily informing the buyers their guns were being bought on behalf of the Zeta cartel.
Barba, who erased gun serial numbers on his kitchen table, took delivery of the weapon used to kill Zapata on August 20. In October, the ATF recorded a phone call in which Barba talked about smuggling and obliterating serial numbers of his guns. Using that evidence, ATF obtained a search warrant and arrested him four months later, the day before Zapata was killed.
Barba however was already an accused felon in a 2006 drug case and was arrested again June 18, 2010 by the DEA for dealing methamphetamine. Initially detained without bond, agents released him in July after he agreed to become a snitch. Barba set up a drug buy which allowed the DEA to arrest two others. In October, he pled guilty but remained free awaiting sentencing. During that time, he was allegedly running guns and under ATF investigation. As an accused felon, Barba was prohibited from possessing a firearm. The ATF executed its search warrant of Barba on October 8.
Martinez believes the agency may have acted sooner. The ATF says no.
“What the family needs to know is the weapons that Barba was having straw purchased for him were all purchased in May, June and August before we even knew who Barba was,” said Gary Orchowski, ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Division.
The second gun used against Zapata was smuggled by a ring responsible for 207 weapons. From June 2010 through February 2011 the Osorio brothers and six other men began to acquire firearms from Dallas area gun stores.
According to ATF management logs, agents first observed a member of the ring buy four AK-47 style weapons from a dealer on July 29 but did not maintain surveillance. The next day, Morrison bought another weapon that later showed up in August along with 21 other guns on their way over the border, including two bought by Ranferi Osorio.
Documents show that in September 2010, the ATF in Dallas traced more crime weapons back to the ring. In November, Morrison and the Osorio brothers illegally provided 40 firearms to an ATF informant, and in January, one of the group told a gun dealer he wanted to buy a large purchase of assault rifles. Morrison himself bought 24 guns, each time swearing on a federal affidavit the guns were all for himself.
Martinez claims the ATF could and should have intervened earlier, potentially preventing the sale or export of the gun that killed Zapata.
The Dallas ATF chief Robert Champion denies his office ‘walked guns’ or knowingly allowed guns to go south as in Operation Fast and Furious. However he did admit to the Dallas Morning News in March that his agents could have arrested the Morrison and the Osorio brothers three months earlier that he did – when they delivered the 40 guns to the informant without serial numbers.
“I know people will criticize us for not taking these guys down immediately,” Champion told the paper. “But we weren’t sure what they were up to.”
Also he said, the ATF was doing what the DEA had requested.
“This wasn’t our case at this point,” Champion said. “We were protecting an investigation that DEA had in Laredo with ATF down there.”
The Zapatas say the agency’s priorities are misplaced.
“Weapons do not have an expiration,” said Mary. “It isn’t like they’re good for a week and they’re done. They’ll be there for generations to keep on killing.”
So far, Martinez has filed a Freedom of Information request for documents on the case. It was denied, as was his appeal.
He is also trying to find out why Zapata was driving the armored SUV on Highway 57, a notorious road linking Monterrey and Mexico City after only nine days in the country. He doesn’t believe Zapata had received the proper evade and escape drivers training or was informed the vehicle’s door locks automatically opened the moment the car was placed in park.
Returning from Monterrey, Zapata and his partner Victor Avila were sandwiched by two SUVs and forced off the road by attackers from the Zeta cartel. Placed in park, the door locks opened allowing gunmen to hit Zapata 6 times and Avila twice. Once the ICE agents secured their vehicle, the gunman fired 90 rounds but none penetrated the car.
“We understand there is a written directive for agents not to be on that road because it is dangerous,” said Martinez.
Read more: Family demands to know if weapons used to kill ICE agent could have been seized before they crossed into Mexico | Fox News
- 06-18-2012, 01:03 PM #2
Fort Worth Gun Falls Into Wrong Hands, Kills U.S. Agent
By Jack Douglas Jr., CBS 11 News
February 15, 2012 10:00 PM
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – On a pleasant October day at a Fort Worth gun show, the makings of a murder began.
“That breaks my heart,” said Jim Terrell, the dealer who sold a Romanian-made gun, similar to an AK-47, on Oct. 10, 2010 to a man he described as “friendly … Just kind of casual.”
“There was nothing suspicious about him, in his movements or eye contact with us,” added Terrell, who runs a gun shop in Burleson when he is not working as a North Texas firefighter.
Four months after that purchase in Fort Worth, an assassin would pull the trigger on that same gun in a highway ambush in Mexico, killing Jaime Zapata, an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The murder, on Feb. 15, 2011, was linked to a Mexican drug cartel. And Zapata would be the first U.S. officer to die in the line of duty in Mexico since 1985.
The killing has triggered a firestorm of controversy in Congress, with some powerful lawmakers questioning how the gun –– and many others like it –– were transported across the border, landing in the hands of dangerous drug cartel mobsters.
“This is very troubling,” said U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who is one of the leading critics on how the federal government has handled gun-trafficking investigations recently.
Cornyn said he wonders whether the gun from Fort Worth that was used to kill Zapata was among the thousands of weapons lost during an ill-conceived investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The undercover project, known as “Fast and Furious” and primarily based out of Arizona, was meant to track down deadly drug cartels in Mexico by following U.S. shipments of government-supplied guns.
Cornyn, in an exclusive interview with CBS 11, said he feels certain guns bought in Houston are linked to the “Fast and Furious” operation. And that makes him suspicious of the weapon purchased at the Fort Worth gun show.
“All of this causes me to ask more questions. And the problem is we just don’t seem to be getting the cooperation that we need from Congress, the Attorney General (Eric Holder Jr.) or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms … to get to the bottom of this,” Cornyn said.
Federal records obtained by CBS 11 show that only a month after Otilio Osorio purchased the assault weapon in Fort Worth, he and his brother Ranferi delivered a load of 40 guns to a government informant in a store parking lot in Lancaster, east of Dallas.
ATF agents were watching and recording, but let the Osorio brothers drive off after the exchange was complete, the reports say.
Agent Tom Crowley, spokesman for the ATF in North Texas, told CBS 11 there was good reason for letting the gun traffickers drive away, at least initially.
“There was a stop, but it was also a part of another federal law enforcement operation … by taking them down and arresting them at that time would have possibly jeopardized that investigation,” Crowley said.
“None of the tactics used in this investigation were anything similar to what was used in Arizona’s Fast and Furious, including intentionally walking firearms across the border,” he added.
Otilio and Ranferi Osorio have since been arrested and have pleaded guilty to gun crimes in a federal court in Dallas.
Meanwhile, Jim Terrell, the gun dealer, said he feels bad but not responsible, for the path the Romanian assault weapon took after it left his hands.
“We always strive to go above and beyond in our screening process of people who buy firearms,” said Terrell. “We sell them to the good people. We don’t want the bad people to have them –– ever!”
Fort Worth Gun Falls Into Wrong Hands, Kills U.S. Agent « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth