Tuesday, May 1, 2012



Note: one of hundreds, or possibly more, of Mexican citizens killed
with these BATFE supplied weapons.
Have to wonder what it took to get the Mexican government to suppress
any further information on firearms recovered.

Report: Guns used in Mexico lawyer's murder traced to Operation Fast
and Furious
By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 05/01/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT

Firearms connected to Operation Fast and Furious were used in the
2010 slaying of the brother of the former Chihuahua state attorney
general, according to a U.S. congressional report.
The report said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives traced two of the weapons suspected in the murder of
lawyer Mario González Rodríguez, but did not report this fact to the
Mexican government until eight months after the tracing.

The joint congressional staff report "The Department of Justice's
Operation Fast and Furious: Fueling Cartel Violence" was prepared for
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-
Calif., two lawmakers who are spearheading an ongoing investigation
into the ATF's controversial operation.

"On October 21, 2010, drug cartel members kidnapped Mario González
Rodríguez from his office," according to the 2011 congressional
report. "At the time of the kidnapping, his sister Patricia González
Rodríguez was the attorney general of the state of Chihuahua."
Mexican officials said Patricia González Rodríguez was already on her
way out because the new governor had been installed and a new state
prosecutor was going to be appointed.
"A few days after the kidnapping," the congressional report said, "a
video surfaced on the Internet in which Mario González Rodríguez sat
handcuffed, surrounded by five heavily armed men wearing masks,
dressed in camouflage and bullet-proof vest."
"Apparently, under duress," the report said, "(González Rodríguez)
alleged that his sister had ordered killings at the behest of the
Juárez cartel ... the video quickly went viral."
Chihuahua state Attorney General Patricia González Rodríguez denied
the allegations of drug corruption and traveled to Mexico City to
seek the federal government's help in investigating her brother's
murder. She is no longer in Chihuahua, and reportedly left Mexico for
safety reasons.

A video of Mario González Rodríguez's "interrogation" by armed men
was carried on YouTube. The body of the well-known Chihuahua City
lawyer was found Nov. 5, 2010, in a shallow grave.
Then, Mexican federal authorities, following a shootout with drug
cartel suspects, seized 16 weapons and arrested eight men in
connection with Mario González Rodríguez's murder.

Mexican officials submitted information about the weapons to the
ATF's e-trace system, and the ATF traced two AK-47s to Operation Fast
and Furious.
The congressional report said that an ATF email indicated that ATF
officials in Phoenix who knew the two assault rifles came
from the controversial operation withheld the information from
Mexican officials until June 2011.
In congressional testimony, Carlos Canino, the ATF's acting U.S.
attaché in Mexico, said he's the one who finally notified Mexican
federal Attorney General Marisela Morales about the weapons-tracing
and their link to the death of Mario González Rodríguez.

The report said Morales was shocked and remarked, "Hijole!," which
the report said translates into "Oh, my."
Canino feared an international incident might break out with Mexico
if the information leaked out to the news media instead of being sent
through government channels. He told U.S. lawmakers that he did not
want to undermine the trust that U.S. law enforcement had developed
with their Mexican counterparts in the war against the drug cartels.

Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.,
said Saturday in response to the U.S. congressional report's findings
that "the government of Mexico has not granted, nor will grant, under
any circumstance, tacit or explicit authorization for the deliberate
walking of arms into Mexico.
"As a matter of policy, we do not comment on ongoing investigations,
and therefore will await the outcome of both the U.S. and Mexican
investigations, and then react accordingly."

Last week, the ATF released a report that said 68,000 weapons
recovered in Mexico between 2007 and 2011 were traced back to U.S.
sources. That report does not mention which of the weapons were part
of the undercover Operation Fast and Furious.

Weapons traced back to the operation have been recovered in eight
Mexican states and in Mexico City, and most of them were destined for
the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, the
congressional report said.

And, at least eight Fast and Furious-connected weapons were recovered
at crime scenes in Juárez and four in Chihuahua City between 2010 and
The Sinaloa cartel has been waging a bloody battle against the
Carrillo Fuentes organization that's killed nearly 9,500 people in
Juárez alone since 2008.

On Jan. 13, 2010, the El Paso Police Department seized 40 rifles on
the East Side that the congressional report said were connected to
Fast and Furious. Weapons connected to the operation also were
recovered in Columbus, N.M.

The number of Fast and Furious weapons found at Mexican crime scenes
could be higher because the information provided to congressional
investigators remains incomplete, the report said.
Last November, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirmed that it
was among local law enforcement agencies asked to assist with
Operation Fast and Furious.
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said then that his department
helped a Drug Enforcement Administration regional task force with
surveillance but that he was not told it was for Fast and Furious.
ATF officials launched Operation Fast and Furious in 2009 in Phoenix
in an attempt to identify high-level arms traffickers who were
supplying the Mexican drug cartels with weapons. The operation
allowed weapons purchased in the United States to cross the border
into Mexico.
ATF shut down the operation about a month after Border Patrol Agent
Brian Terry was found murdered in the Arizona desert in December
2010. Two AK-47s, originally purchased as semiautomatics and
connected to Fast and Furious, were found near Terry's body.
The latest ATF report does not break down the 68,000 weapons traced
to U.S. sources by states.
ATF spokesman Tom Crowley said the agency previously reported that
most of the guns recovered in Mexico came from Texas, the border
state that has the most gun stores.
Statistics in the recent ATF report mirror the trends in Mexico's
drug cartel violence.
For example, in 2008 Mexican officials submitted 31,111 serial
numbers to the ATF for tracing, the same year that the Mexican
cartels intensified their battles in Mexico.
The number of weapons submitted for e-trace was 17,352 in 2007;
21,555 in 2009; 8,338 in 2010; and 20,335 in 2011.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com;

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