Tag Archives: Fast and Furious

FLASHBACK TO OPERATION FAST AND FURIOUS

‘Fast and Furious’ Linked to Immunity Deal Between U.S. and Sinaloa Cartel, Trafficking Defendant Alleges in Court Papers

 

By Edwin Mora An alleged Mexican drug trafficker awaiting trial in a Chicago federal court claims that the notorious Sinaloa cartel received weapons from “Operation Fast and Furious” under an alleged immunity agreement that the U.S. government made with cartel leaders, in exchange for information on rival gangs.

The defendant in a trafficking case before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Vicente Jesus Zambada-Niebla, also claims the immunity deal allowed the criminal cartel to “continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs” into the United States.

He wants the U.S. government to provide documents relating to the botched gun running sting operation along the southwest border, arguing that it would benefit his defense.

Operation Fast and Furious, which began in September 2009, saw the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives supervise the sale of guns to straw purchasers with the intent of tracing the guns to Mexican drug trafficking organizations and prosecuting their members. The ATF allowed about 2,000 guns to be sold in this manner.

The operation came under congressional scrutiny after it was linked to the December 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry at the hands of Mexican bandits.

An investigative report, spearheaded by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), found that most of the weapons provided to Mexican criminals under the operation were going to the Sinaloa cartel, arguably one of the world’s largest drug trafficking organizations.

In a court pleading filed last July, Zambada-Niebla made the claims about an immunity deal.

“Mr. Zambada-Niebla believes that the documentation that he requests will confirm that the weapons received by Sinaloa Cartel members and its leaders in Operation ‘Fast & Furious’ were provided under the agreement entered into between the United States government and [a Mexican lawyer] on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel that is the subject of his defense …,” it said.

“Mr. Zambada-Niebla believes that the documentation will also provide evidence showing that the United States government has a policy and pattern of providing benefits, including immunity, to cartel leaders, including the Sinaloa Cartel and their members, who are willing to provide information against rival drug cartels.”

The defendant argued that he is protected from federal prosecution for trafficking drugs into the U.S. between 2004 and 2009 under an alleged immunity deal struck between the U.S. government and Sinaloa leaders.

According to court documents, Zambada-Niebla claims that the immunity deal provided the cartel’s leadership with “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States” in exchange for information on rival drug cartels.

U.S. prosecutors deny the existence of such an immunity deal between the U.S. government and the cartel.

Nevertheless, the U.S. government last September filed a motion to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act, which is aimed at assuring that national security information stemming from criminal cases – such as details associated with CIA operations – are not leaked to the public during court proceedings.

In a court pleading filed in September, U.S. prosecutors claimed that Zambada-Niebla’s allegations about Fast and Furious have no merit.

“Defendant requests all information in the possession of the U.S. government related to an ATF investigation referred to as ‘Fast and Furious’…” it said. “Defendants request related to Fast and Furious … and other unrelated matters are gratuitous and wholly unrelated to any legitimate discovery issues in this case.”

Zambada-Niebla, who was arrested in Mexico in March 2009 and extradited to the U.S. eleven months later, is accused of smuggling tons of cocaine and heroin into the U.S.

He claims he was working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, court documents show.

The defendant’s pleading highlighted a July 2011 letter sent by Issa and Grassley to Attorney General Eric Holder, “suggesting that multiple United States agencies were employing as informants members of Mexican drug organizations.”

“The evidence seems to indicate that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons, but that tax payers’ dollars in the form of informant payments, may have financed those engaging in such activities,” the pleading added.

 

 

 

also see ‘CIA behind Operation Fast and Furious’  via The Washington Times Thursday, August 11, 2011 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/11/was-cia-behind-operation-fast-and-furious/)…

“In congressional testimony, William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division, testified that the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “full partners” in Operation Fast and Furious. Mr. Newell’s list left out the most important player: the CIA. According to a CIA insider, the agency had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious.

The CIA’s motive is clear enough: The U.S. government is afraid the Los Zetas drug cartel will mount a successful coup d’etat against the government of Felipe Calderon.”

4 Comments

Filed under Man

CIA behind Operation Fast and Furious

No big surprise here, this may be why Executive Order was announced to seal the documents.

via The Washington Times Thursday, August 11, 2011

(http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/11/was-cia-behind-operation-fast-and-furious/)

Why did the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(ATF) let criminals buy firearms, smuggle them across the Mexican border and deliver them into the hands of vicious drug cartels? The ATF claims it launched its now-disgraced Operation Fast and Furious in 2009 to catch the “big fish.” Fast and Furious was designed to stem the “Iron River” flowing from American gun stores into the cartels’ arsenals. Thebureau says it allowed gun smuggling so it could track the firearms and arrest the cartel members downstream. Not true.

During the course of Operation Fast and Furious, about 2,000 weapons moved from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug cartels – exactly as intended.

In congressional testimony, William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division, testified that the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “full partners” in Operation Fast and Furious. Mr. Newell’s list left out the most important player: the CIA. According to a CIA insider, the agency had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious.

The CIA’s motive is clear enough: The U.S. government is afraid theLos Zetas drug cartel will mount a successful coup d’etat against thegovernment of Felipe Calderon.

Founded by ex-Mexican special forces, the Zetas already control huge swaths of Mexican territory. They have the organization, arms and money needed to take over the entire country.

Former CIA pilot Robert Plumlee and former CIA operative and DEADirector Phil Jordan recently said the brutally efficient Mexican drug cartel has stockpiled thousands of weapons to disrupt and influenceMexico’s national elections in 2012. There’s a very real chance the Zetas cartel could subvert the political process completely, as it has throughout the regions it controls.

In an effort to prevent a Los Zetas takeover, Uncle Sam has gotten into bed with the rival Sinaloa cartel, which has close ties to the Mexican military. Recent court filings by former Sinaloa cartel member Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, currently in U.S. custody, reveal that the United States allowed the Sinaloas to fly a 747 cargo plane packed with cocaine into American airspace – unmolested.

The CIA made sure the trade wasn’t one-way. It persuaded the ATF to create Operation Fast and Furious – a “no strings attached” variation of the agency’s previous firearms sting. By design, the ATF operation armed the Mexican government’s preferred cartel on the street level near the American border, where the Zetas are most active.

Operation Fast and Furious may not have been the only way the CIAhelped put lethal weapons into the hands of the Sinaloa cartel and its allies, but it certainly was an effective strategy. If drug thugs hadn’t murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with an ATF- provided weapon, who knows how many thousands more guns would have crossed the U.S. border?

To be sure, Operation Fast and Furious suited the ATF’s needs. It was all too willing to let guns walk to increase its power, prestige and budget in Washington. It actively recruited so-called straw purchasers and happily used American gun dealers as pawns. And it was only one agency in a mosaic of federal agencies helping the CIA actualize its covert plans.

The fact that Operation Fast and Furious was part of the CIA’s black-bag job in Mexico does not excuse the ATF for violating the very federal laws it was created to enforce; for contributing to the deaths of hundreds of innocent citizens, including a Border Patrol agent trying to live up to his oath; or for being unrepentant, uncooperative and unresponsive to the wishes of the American people for honesty, integrity and loyalty to the U.S. Constitution.

Nor should the FBI get a free pass for subverting the criminal-background-check system designed to prevent illegal firearms purchases. The Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department – all major players in theCIA’s grand schemes – should not escape scrutiny, either. In fact, we should not shrug off the activities of any of our federal agencies that broke the law on the Sinaloa’s – and thus the Mexican government’s – behalf.

The Obama administration clearly thinks the entire federal government should help keep the profoundly corrupt Calderon government in power – no matter what. If that means sending lawyers, guns and money to unconscionable criminals, so be it. In this, Obama officials are wrong.

By choosing sides in a brutal war between opposing criminal syndicates rather than sealing our southern border, the Obama administration is fueling brutality and carnage and killing any hope of Mexican democracy. All that aside, either we are a nation of laws or we are not. If we live by our principles, Congress must appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the people in the Obama administration who enabled this reckless gun scheme.

Robert Farago is managing editor of thetruthaboutguns.com, where Ralph Dixon is a contributing writer.

3 Comments

Filed under Man