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Fast And Furious Investigation .com
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WASHINGTON – Chairman Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley today questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about revelations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was aware of straw buying by Manuel Barba during a several month span of which one of the weapons found at the murder scene of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Officer Jaime Zapata was purchased.
In a letter to Holder today, Issa and Grassley wrote that in addition to Otilio and Rafael Osorio and Kelvin Morrison, which they have previously asked about and received non-substantive responses, it appears that another straw purchaser with ties to the Zapata murder was well-known to ATF officials. In their letter, they wrote, "Records indicate that ATF opened a case against Manuel Barba in June 2010, approximately two months before he took possession on August 20, 2010, of the rifle which was later trafficked to Mexico and also used in the murder of Agent Zapata. Additionally, the documents show that ATF had indications in October 2010 that Barba was obliterating serial numbers on weapons, the possession of which would have been a prosecutable offense." Yet, Barba was not arrested until February 14, 2011.
Issa and Grassley have been investigating the actions of the Justice Department and the ATF that allowed gunwalking, guns purchased by known straw buyers who then often transferred the firearms to Mexican Drug Cartels, to occur in at least one ATF field office jurisdiction.
One of the major flaws found in the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious, where gunwalking was known to occur, was the failure to conduct surveillance of individuals known to be trafficking weapons to Mexico, which allowed such firearms to reach the border. Issa and Grassley said that the same irresponsible tactic appears to have been used as the ATF allowed guns to cross the border in Texas.
Here is a copy of the text of today's letter from Grassley and Issa, and here is a signed copy of the letter. In addition, here's a signed copy of the October 26, 2011 letter from Grassley and Issa asking about the tactics used in Texas. Also, click here to read Grassley's March 4, 2011 letter and here to read the March 28, 2011 letter. Here is a copy of the Justice Department's response to Grassley's March 28th letter.
February 27, 2012
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
For almost an entire year, we have been requesting that the Department provide information about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' (ATF's) knowledge regarding Otilio Osorio's straw purchasing activities. We are interested in him because he was the straw purchaser of the weapon used in the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011.
Letters from Senator Grassley on March 4, 2011, and March 28, 2011 provided documentation that, on September 17, 2010, ATF traced trafficked weapons to Otilio's brother and co-habitant, Ranferi Osorio, as well as the Osorio brothers' next-door neighbor, Kelvin Morrison. Senator Grassley further inquired why these facts did not prompt ATF to conduct a "knock and talk" with these individuals or begin conducting surveillance on them.
On November 9, 2010, as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation, ATF witnessed Otilio and Ranferi Osorio providing 40 weapons with obliterated serial numbers to an undercover ATF informant for the purpose of trafficking the weapons to Mexico. Surprisingly, they were not arrested for another three and a half months. Senator Grassley further inquired why they were not arrested at the time they were observed to be in possession of weapons with obliterated serial numbers, which is a crime. He asked whether ATF or DEA continued to surveil the Osorio brothers between early November and their arrest, following the discovery that Otilio Osorio's weapon was used in the murder of Agent Zapata. Inexplicably, the Department has failed to provide substantive responses to any of these letters, including a subsequent follow-up letter on this matter, sent jointly on October 25, 2011.
ATF has tried to distinguish this case from Operation Fast and Furious and to justify its failure to intervene. In one news article on the Osorio brothers, ATF North Texas spokesperson Tom Crowley is quoted as saying: "[T]aking them down and arresting them at that time would have possibly jeopardized that investigation. . . . 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." Yet failure to conduct surveillance of individuals known to be trafficking weapons to Mexico was a core problem with the tactics used in Fast and Furious. Lack of surveillance is what allowed such firearms to reach the border. The same irresponsible tactic appears to have been used in this matter.
Now, news reports indicate that this may have been an issue with a purchaser of another one of the weapons found at Agent Zapata's murder scene. Records indicate that ATF opened a case against Manuel Barba in June 2010, approximately two months before he took possession on August 20, 2010, of the rifle which was later trafficked to Mexico and also used in the murder of Agent Zapata. Additionally, the documents show that ATF had indications in October 2010 that Barba was obliterating serial numbers on weapons, the possession of which would have been a prosecutable offense. At least as of December 13, 2010, ATF also was aware that Barba was still under indictment for a 2006 state case, and thus had been unlawfully receiving firearms while under indictment. However, a warrant was not issued for Barba's arrest in this case until February 14, 2011.
To assist us in better understanding of the circumstances leading up to the murder of Agent Zapata, please answer the following questions:
Thank you in advance for ensuring your response arrives no later than March 9, 2012. Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Ranking Member Grassley's staff at (202) 224-5225 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 224-5225 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Chairman Issa's staff at (202) 225-5074 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (202) 225-5074 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Darrell Issa, Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member
Committee on Oversight and Committee on the Judiciary
Government Reform U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
Good work, Robin, keeping us all up to date on this issue. You have been on this it first broke last year. Heads should be rolling more than they are, and if not for the White House Occupier, they would be!
Thanks JG. I will post all the links for F&F, not the whole article just a list of the links so we have them!
Yes, excellent work on this Robin. Hope you stay with it.
You are right, there is nothing from Eric Holder that makes sense on this, other than he is the same arrogant above-the-law commie brat that we see another place in Washington. Eric says he does not have the time. Really? He had time to slap a charge on Gov. Brewer for her audacity to try and defend her state. He had time to suggest that Black people can flunk tests and still have jobs. He has plenty of time if he did his job. And then secondly, I have no clue why these guys know so little they claim on the people buying the weapons. In California I had a rifle transferred to me from another. I needed absolute ID, had to fill out a form, and then leave the rifle in the place 10 days while they ran a check on me. And the gun shop by this time knew me. No matter. They go by the letter of the law. Let me guess that all US gun shops go by the letter of the law since they do not want to be shut down. Now other states might not be that bad, but my guess is that there still is ID, some paperwork filled out, and some check. If they do not know what is going on, that is because they do not want to know what is going on. As for us law abiding citizens, they of course get enough info such that if Obama wants to kill the second amendment, they know exactly who we are and where to find us and the serial number of our rifle or pistol. Shame on us for being law abiding I guess. The crooks with the ATF always make clean get aways. I just wonder. .. why that is? And that is always the usual question with the Obama admin. Are these guys really that stupid? Or is this all on purpose to kill the second amendment?
Some gun enthusiasts I know are even suspicious that even before a law abiding citizen picks up a gun or a rifle, that someone has already shot a ballistics sample of it and stored that sample away - under the serial number of the gun - which ties to the person. Some have told me that for a pistol but not a rifle, a shell casing ships in the pistol box that was shot. For testing only? Or where did the data go? Now, I do not object to that, but again I say, they sure are careful if a US good citizen buys a gun or rifle. So this lack of concern over drug cartels doing the buying seems .... amazing to me.
Thanks for staying with this! I agree, everything on this subject .... looks beyond awful. :)
Thanks RN, We have so much facing us that this may seem a small issue! To me, it is all about our 2nd Amendment rights & the murder of Americans, with more to come! I will be putting the links to all previous articles in one post under this heading! I saved them all! I think so far I found they were running this program under some different names in at least 5 states! Issa just released this information a few days ago about the ICE Agent Zapata's murder! There was a program under Bush that was similar. The difference under Bush is they interdicted those weapons. Under Holder only 2 out of 2,000 were tracked and Interdicted! Also, the information that came out about Obama's meeting with Jim Brady's wife where he told her they were "working on gun control under the radar" is very disturbing. It infuriates me, both for the fact it will get more Americans killed, including our Law Enforcemnt Officers and Troops, and for the fact it was all a program so they could do away with the 2nd Amendment!
Thanks for doing this Robin, and I do not think this is a small issue at all. I think in fact it is the biggest single Obama offense - and the reason is that people died. No one died in Watergate for example, and that is the huge liberal issue.
I agree with you Robin. Life and death trumps silliness spying on the other party. Life and death trumps political hoo hah lying about how safe Mexico and our border are. And life and death trumps Watergate and makes Obama and Eric Holder look like the dangerous people that they are. The fact that Eric Holder almost not seems to care that people died because of his group, speaks volumes to what Obama and he are capable of.
So I think this is big time Robin. I think you are the one helping us with the big time story.
Dangerous Indeed! The ends justify the means for them. They could care less how many people are murdered on either side of the border! Pfft! Just collateral damage to them in their quest to accomplish the agenda!
Actually Robin, it is a huge issue for us border states. Holder et.al provided assault weapons to the very people our sheriffs are trying to arrest and keep our borders safe. Obama and Holder are the terrorists in our country.
Listing the links to Fast & Furious from July 8, 2011
DOJ Wiretap Authorization: HERE
Project Gunrunner Briefing Paper: HERE
Project Gunrunner: DOJ / ATF smuggle guns to Mexican drug cartel: HERE
Project Gunrunner: DOJ authorized wiretap of ATF’s ‘Fast and Furious’: HERE
White House aims to squash negative stories about Obama: HERE
ABC News reporter fired for telling the truth: HERE
Eric Holder’s DOJ forces US Police departments to lower test standards for blacks: HERE
Eric Holder = Bad Egg: HERE
DOJ Mobile Unit: HERE
WARNING: United Nations gun control scheme: HERE
Our nation cannot survive treason from within: HERE
Houston Office now? How many more offices?
Are multiple local offices of ATF involved in gun smuggling scandal?
Will post more links.
This is great Robin! Thanks for posting this. It's a lot of work to keep this all together so someone new to the issue can read up and get caught up to speed!
Gowdy on Fox Biz: Update on Fast & Furious Investigation, Grenade Sale "Inherently Illegal"
Congress expands Fast and Furious probe to include White House
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that Attorney General Eric Holder is so "" and that President Obama should consider removing him from office.
Internal Docs List Crimes Tied To ATF Gun Operation
Attorney General in Mexico: 200 Murders Result of Operation Fast and Furious
Thanks for adding to this! This just grows and grows. We may never know how far this has gone!
Please send me the link to this article, i mean, if there is an original somewhere regarding the stimulus money, if you're the originator, let me know, and if there is another place this article is located with its own direct link.
I just tweeted Anthony G. Martin from the Conservative examiner regarding this part you mentioned here about the money from stimulus bill. I don't recall him mentioning that in his articles which he has been relentless in making sure the public knows about Fast & Furious.
Oh and I called Sheriff Joe's office today, and spoke to one of his administrators. I asked them if a comparison of all gun crimes could be done by Sheriffs on the border, using data from the last 5 years to determine how many of the guns were from Fast & Furious and used to kill Americans, not just officers of the law.
My position is that there is absolutely no way to justify giving guns to drug cartels, without any tracking system, and not have anticipated they might be used to kill American Citizens, unless of course that was the point of Holder's actions, http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/03/18/Holder-Outlines-Ho....
And lastly Dems are admitting Holder's office is purely political by claiming that this entire investigation is based on stopping him from enjoining voter ID laws, and therefore they also admit Holder and/or Obama have something to hide. It may well be they know dozens, and maybe hundreds of Americans were killed by the guns they sold to the cartels and only tracked at the point they were left behind at a crime. Makes ya wonder who the inside guy is the drug cartels have to know not to keep the weapon after a murder huh? Just sayin.