Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gun in ICE Agent's death linked to ATF Operation

Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata were both murdered in the line of duty. Terry's death seems to have gotten more attention for two reasons. One, he was gunned down inside the U.S. border with Mexico. Two, the guns found at his murder scene came from ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-walking operation sanctioned by Terry's government. Zapata was killed in Mexico and the origin of the guns used to kill him were not proven to have been as closely connected to the ATF.

Well, thanks to CBS' Sharyl Attkisson, one of the guns used in Zapata's murder has now been proven to have come from an ATF operation. A suspicious aspect to this involves a conviction of the man who possessed the gun and Zapata's family never knew he was implicated in the murder.

Via CBS:
Prosecutors recently sentenced a Texas man, Manuel Barba, for trafficking a weapon connected to the murder of Immigration and Customs (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata. Nobody was more astonished to learn of the case than Zapata's parents, who didn't know that Barba had been arrested or linked to their son's murder.

"The family was obviously surprised to learn that there was a case involving a weapon linked to the Zapata incident," attorney Trey Martinez told CBS News. Martinez represents Zapata's parents and the surviving ICE agent in the assault, Victor Avila. "They were surprised they had never been contacted in the capacity as victims so they could give a response or some kind of reaction at the time of sentencing."
Perhaps this goes a long way in explaining why the Zapata family was kept in the dark...
In a related development, CBS News has obtained documents showing that Barba was under ATF surveillance for at least six months before a rifle he trafficked was used in Zapata's murder. Zapata's government vehicle was ambushed by suspected cartel thugs in Mexico Feb. 15, 2011.

Documents indicate ATF opened its case against Barba, entitled "Baytown Crew," in June of 2010. During the investigation, court records state Barba recruited straw purchasers and "facilitated the purchase and exportation of at least 44 firearms" including assault rifles. On August 20, 2010 Barba took delivery of the WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle later used in Zapata's murder, obliterated its serial number, and sent it to Mexico with nine others just like it. Nearly two months later, on Oct. 8, 2010, ATF agents recorded a phone call in which Barba "spoke about the final disposition of ... firearms to Mexico and also about the obliterating of the serial numbers before they were trafficked." Barba told straw purchasers the guns were destined for the Zeta drug cartel.
Dave Workman at the Gun Rights Examiner received an e-mail from Senator Charles Grassley that said, in part:
"I've been asking for information from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security on the circumstances surrounding the murder of ICE Agent Zapata for almost a year, only to be met with resistance and more of the same stonewalling. If these revelations prove to be true, it's a sad commentary that this known trafficker was allowed to continue his illegal purchases, including trafficking the apparent weapon used in the murder of our own agent."
It's nice to see that Senator Grassley believes this report is a "sad commentary" and that he's reiterating what we've all known for over a year now, that's he's being stonewalled, but this righteous rhetoric needs to transition to righteous action soon. I realize Grassley is the ranking member and has limited power but DOJ needs to start coughing up documents or be held in contempt, which is something Rep. Darrell Issa's office has been hinting at doing but has already backed down once.

Be sure to read Attkisson's entire piece. It reveals a lot of smoke, and you know what they say about smoke.

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