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Thread: Request to Justice Department IG: "Investigate ICE Agent Zapata Murder"

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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Request to Justice Department IG: "Investigate ICE Agent Zapata Murder"

    September 25, 2012 5:20 PM
    By Sharyl Attkisson
    cbsnews



    (CBS News) Two Congressional Republicans who led the Fast and Furious investigation are asking the Justice Department Inspector General (IG) to open a probe into the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata on Feb. 15, 2011. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) issued a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz today. The IG's office says it's reviewing the request.

    According to the letter, ATF may have had probable cause to arrest two firearms dealers before they bought and trafficked a weapon used to murder Zapata, who was on assignment in Mexico. "Only after Agent Zapata was murdered...and one of the weapons was traced back" to suspect Otilio Osorio "did ATF finally arrest Otilio, his brother and a third suspect for their gun trafficking activity," reads the letter.

    Congressional investigators say ATF had earlier witnessed the Osorio brothers in a Walmart parking lot providing 40 weapons with obliterated serial numbers to be trafficked to Mexico. It was what's known as a "controlled delivery," meaning law enforcement officials were monitoring the sale. In this case it was part of a joint investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But "ATF failed to confront the two individuals" leaving them to continue to allegedly traffic weapons, including one used in Zapata's killing, according to the letter.

    In exclusive interview with CBS News, Zapata's parents said they had been kept in the dark on details of their son's death. In a related development, CBS News reported that a second gun used in Zapata's assault was trafficked by a suspect under ATF surveillance: Manuel Barba.

    Zapata would be the second federal agent murdered by suspects using rifles allegedly trafficked under ATF's watch. Two months before Zapata was ambushed and gunned down, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot while on night patrol in the Arizona desert near the Mexican border. Two rifles allegedly trafficked by suspects under surveillance in ATF's Operation Fast and Furious were found at the murder scene.

    Request to Justice Department IG: "Investigate ICE Agent Zapata Murder" - Political Hotsheet - CBS News
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    Could Project Gunrunner be Texas’s Fast and Furious? Congress wants to know

    Thursday, September 27, 2012
    chron.com


    Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles E. Grassley. (Congressman Darrell Issa/flickr)

    As the Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz wrapped up the investigation and testimonies regarding Operation Fast and Furious, Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa were planning a new assignment for him: investigation into Project Gunrunner.

    This is not the first time that the two lawmakers have inquired with Department of Justice about this operation.

    Grassley began his inquiries into this matter as early as March 2011 and then in October of last year, Grassley and Issa sent a joint request to Attorney General Eric Holder asking that he answer 12 questions relating to Project Gunrunner and how a weapon related to this effort was used to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata.

    According to this month’s Operation Fast and Furious report issued by the inspector general, when Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich responded to the early requests for information his “letter did not respond substantively to Sen. Grassley’s inquiries.”

    Consequently, Grassley and Issa are now appealing to the inspector general. Specifically, they want to know why the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) division in Dallas and Phoenix took no action to arrest Otilio and Ranferi Osorio and their neighbor Kevin Morrison, all of whom the ATF witnessed participating in gun trafficking as early as fall of 2010.

    Documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle a year ago show that at different points in 2010, the ATF divisions ”had evidence implicating Osorio well before drug gangsters gunned down Zapata and his partner Victor Avila, who survived.”

    “We didn’t ignore (the Osorios and Morrison). We looked into everybody,” a federal law enforcement source told Houston Chronicle last year, when inquiries into the Operation Gunrunner were being made.

    However, Osorio brothers and Morrison were not arrested till February 28, 2011, almost two weeks after Zapata was murdered. And that is what troubles Grassley and Issa.

    Could Project Gunrunner be Texas’s Fast and Furious? Congress wants to know | Texas on the Potomac | a Chron.com blog
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