Another federal agent killed by ATF “walked” gun?by Hugh Holub on Mar. 01, 2011, under mexican drug cartels, mexico, politics
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…they did.
Fox News is reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata who was shot February 15 while driving on a highway near the northern Mexico city of San Luis Potosi was killed by a gun sold in Dallas, Texas.
According to Fox News ” The gun was traced to a Dallas-area man, Otilio Osorio, allegedly part of a crime group that assists cartels by illegally selling them guns from the U.S,, one law enforcement source told Fox News, though it is unclear whether the Texas man knew what the gun would be used for.”
ICE agent Victor Avila was wounded in the cartel ambush.
Published February 27, 2011
U.S. officials say Jaime Zapata, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, was killed and another agent wounded while driving through northern Mexico Tuesday.
The gun used to kill a U.S. immigration agent in Mexico has been traced to a man in Texas, who was arrested with two others suspected of gun smuggling, sources confirm to Fox News.
The ATF made the arrests in connection with a Feb. 15 shooting of two federal agents who were driving on a highway near the northern Mexico city of San Luis Potosi. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and agent Victor Avila was wounded.
And from the Arizona Republic:
ATF: Gun in ICE agent’s death traced to Texas man
Feb. 28, 2011 06:30 PM
DALLAS – Three people suspected of smuggling guns to Mexico were arrested in a Dallas suburb on Monday after federal investigators traced the gun used in the killing of a U.S. agent in Mexico to one of them, officials said.
Agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested the suspected gun smugglers in morning raids in the southern Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Texas, ATF spokesman Tom Crowley said. Crowley referred questions on other details to the U.S. Justice Department in Washington. The agency planned to issue a news release.
The ATF said the gun was used in a Feb. 15 shooting of two federal agents who were driving on a highway near the northern city of San Luis Potosi on Feb. 15. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and agent Victor Avila was wounded.
Zapata and Avila, who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, were attacked as they returned to Mexico City from a meeting with other U.S. personnel in the state of San Luis Potosi. Avila was shot twice in the leg and is recovering in the United States.
Some reports at the time said the two were stopped at a roadblock, while others said they were run off the road by other vehicles. The Mexican government does not authorize U.S. law enforcement personnel to carry weapons.
Also Monday, the Mexican navy announced that marines had captured a regional boss for the Zetas drug gang that is accused in Zapata’s slaying.
Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara said that suspect Sergio Antonio Mora oversaw Zeta activities in the state of San Luis Potosi. Vergara did not say if Mora was involved in the attack on Zapata and Avila, but he said that Mora, known as “El Toto,” was the boss of Julian Zapata Espinoza, who was arrested last week and allegedly confessed that he took part in the shooting.
Mora and five other suspects, including a Honduran man, were detained Sunday at a hotel in Saltillo, capital of the northern state of Coahuila.
Much of northeastern Mexico has seen an increase in bloodshed as the Zetas battle their former allies in the Gulf cartel for control of drug trafficking and other criminal activity. Mexican authorities say Zapata Espinoza told them the two agents were attacked because they were mistaken for members of the rival cartel.
Last week, some U.S. officials said the attack was an intentional ambush of the agents and that the gunmen made comments before they fired indicating they knew who their targets were.
The agents were in a Chevrolet Suburban. Mexico’s drug cartels frequently set up roadblocks and ambushes to steal large SUVs and pickups, vehicles they like to use.
Vergara said Mora also is suspected in the February killing of Manuel Farfan, a retired army general who recently had become police chief in Nuevo Laredo, the city across the border from Laredo, Texas.
Federal police on Sunday also detained another alleged Zetas member, Luis Miguel Rojo, 27, in San Luis Potosi state. They did not said if he played a role in the attack on the U.S. agents.
Funny how ATF can track guns at the scene of the murders of US law enforcement agents….after the fact.
UPDATE-3-02-2011 Department of Justice Press Release:
For Immediate Release March 1, 2011
United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas
Three Dallas-Area Men Arrested on Federal Firearms Charges Related to Trafficking Firearms to a Mexican Drug Cartel
Ballistic Tests Trace One of the Firearms Used in February 2011 Shooting of ICE Agents to One of the Defendants
DALLAS—Three individuals have been arrested by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), assisted by other state and local law enforcement, on federal firearms charges outlined in two complaints, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks for the Northern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Champion of the ATF’s Dallas Field Office.
Ranferi Osorio, 27, and his brother, Otilio Osorio, 22, were arrested yesterday at their home on East Colonial Drive in Lancaster, Texas. Each Osorio brother is charged with possessing firearms with an obliterated serial number. Separately, according to information contained in one complaint, Mexican officials recently seized three firearms that were used in the deadly shooting on Feb. 15, 2011, of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent. One of the firearms recovered was traced by ATF to Otilio Osorio.
An additional defendant, Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, who is charged in a separate federal criminal complaint, was arrested at his home next door to the Osorio brothers. Morrison is charged with knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and dealing in firearms without a license.
A detention hearing for Morrison and Otilio Osorio is scheduled for today at 2:00 p.m. CT before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney in Dallas. Ranferi Osorio’s detention hearing is scheduled for March 4, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. CT before Judge Stickney.
According to court documents filed in both cases, a Dallas ATF confidential informant (CI) arranged a meeting in early November 2010 with individuals who had firearms to be transported from Dallas to Laredo. The meeting was arranged related to an investigation of Los Zetas, a notoriously violent and ruthless drug trafficking organization. The weapons in question were ultimately seized by U.S. law enforcement near Laredo, before crossing the U.S./Mexico border.
According to the court documents, at the meeting, two men unloaded several large bags containing firearms into the CI’s vehicle, which was kept under surveillance until a traffic stop in Laredo. According to the court documents, the men’s vehicle was later stopped by local police and the men were identified as Ranferi and Otilio Osorio. Morrison was the third passenger in the vehicle. The vehicle stopped in Laredo was searched and 40 firearms, all with obliterated serial numbers, were seized. Trace results indicated that three of these firearms could be specifically traced to Morrison, who bought them from federal firearms licensees (FFL) in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on Nov. 4, 2010. The investigation now has also revealed that on Aug. 7, 2010, a Romarm, model WASR, 7.62 caliber rifle was discovered by law enforcement officers in LaPryor, Texas, near the U.S./Mexico border. Trace results indicated that Morrison purchased this firearm on July 30, 2010, from a FFL. According to the affidavit, between July 10, 2010, and Nov. 4, 2010, Morrison purchased 24 firearms from FFLs.
In addition, according to one affidavit filed in the case, one of the three firearms used in the Feb. 15, 2011, deadly assault of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata that was seized by Mexican officials has been traced by ATF to Otilio Osorio. Otilio Osorio allegedly purchased that firearm on Oct. 10, 2010, in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, prior to law enforcement’s awareness of the purchase. Ballistic testing conducted by Mexican authorities on this firearm indicated it was one of the three firearms used during the deadly assault on Special Agent Zapata’s vehicle.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If convicted, the penalty for possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count. The penalty for knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count. The penalty for dealing in firearms without a license is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the ATF, DEA, FBI, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, and the Lancaster, Texas, Police Department. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay for the Northern District of Texas.
Is it mere coincidence that after both shootings, ATF immediately arrested the “straw” buyers of the guns involved in the murders of the two federal agents?
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with a gun sold at a Glendale, Arizona gun shop under the watchful eyes of ATF. That gun “walked” into the hands of the bandits that shot Terry under ATF’s Project Gunrunner.
Now we have a second dead federal law enforcement official, killed by a gun sold in the US and tracked by ATF.
Hundreds of weapons have slipped into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels via ATF’s Project Gunrunner program.
US Senator Charles Grassley has been trying to get to the bottom of ATF’s scandalous behavior. The Senator is being stonewalled by the Obama Administration.
The Project Gunrunner scandal is much bigger than anyone originally thought.
Besides two dead US law enforcement agents, how many Mexican officials have been killed by guns ATF “walked” into Mexico?
No wonder the FBI and the Border Patrol won’t talk about Agent Terry’s death.
Telling the truth would make the US government look bad.
More on the Project Gunrunner scandal: