Two Fast and Furious guns found in AZ during searches
Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star |
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:00 am |
When investigators served search warrants in central and southern
Arizona Oct. 13, they recovered two firearms that had been sold as
part of Operation Fast and Furious, the discredited investigation
into gun smuggling.
But any further details are proving hard to find.
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the two firearms
were among the 108 seized as part of Operation Pipeline Express, the
investigation of an Arizona smuggling group linked to the Sinaloa
Homeland Security agents as well as Pinal County deputies and others
carried out 12 searches Oct. 13: Six in Casa Grande, two in
Stanfield, and one each in Phoenix, Tucson, Marana and on the Gila
River Indian Reservation.
Where the weapons were found and what sort of guns they were is as
yet unknown. Drew Wade, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives spokesman, told me his agency is prohibited by law from
revealing gun-trace results and referred me to Immigration and
Customs Enforcement. But ICE, as that agency is unknown, initially
said that information is ATF's responsibility and so far has no other
The issue is turning into another battle in Sheriff Paul Babeu's
ongoing rhetorical war with the federal government. On the NRA's "Cam
& Company" show Wednesday, Babeu criticized a federal agent at the
Nov. 1 press conference for not discussing the two firearms.
"When we announced this, and one of the leaders in ICE, he tried to
just make like 'There's nothing here for you to see. Just move on!
Move along!' "
This was an apparent reference to Matt Allen, the special agent in
charge of ICE's investigation's branch in Arizona.
His voice rising, Babeu, who is exploring a possible run for
Congress, went on: "And then I told the truth! I confirmed the fact
that this is what happened because you know what? I don't work for
Since he emerged in public in April 2010 as an outspoken Arizona
official on border issues, Babeu has repeatedly attacked the federal
government's efforts to address border security needs. More recently,
he's focused his critique of the federal government on the disgraced
Operation Fast and Furious, a 2009-2010 investigation in which ATF
investigators allowed gun-smugglers to buy about 2,000 weapons for
Mexican drug traffickers.
It's unclear how many guns made it to Mexico as part of Fast and
Furious, but at least 400 of the 2,000 have been confiscated in the
United States or Mexico. Two of those were recovered at the scene
near Rio Rico of the Dec. 14 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian
Read more: http://azstarnet.com/news/blogs/senor-reporter/two-fast-