Monday, July 9, 2012
AZMEX F&F EXTRA2 9-7-12
AZMEX F&F EXTRA 2 9 JUL 2012
Note: more than a little interesting, and troubling. Boots may be in order for some of it.
Gun-walk critic now heads ATF office here
SAYS HE'LL WORK TO RESTORE TRUST AFTER FAST, FURIOUS CONTROVERSY
Tim Steller Arizona Daily Star
A year ago, Carlos Canino testified before a U.S. House committee in Washington, D.C., about Operation Fast and Furious, passionately criticizing Arizona-based ATF agents for their actions.
Now he's one of them.
Canino has moved from an attaché post at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to a position heading the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Tucson office. For Canino, who watched the reports of gun seizures from Arizona piling up in Mexico during 2009 and 2010, it is a chance to make amends for ATF's past mistakes here.
"I requested to come here because the American people lost its trust in ATF in Phoenix," Canino said in an interview in Tucson Friday. "I want to be on the ground floor to get the trust back."
The Tucson office is a branch of the bureau's field office in Phoenix, which oversees ATF operations in Arizona and New Mexico. Canino came in as part of an overhaul of the Phoenix division's leadership after Operation Fast and Furious became a public scandal last year.
A 23-year veteran of the agency, 47-year-old Canino became known to the nation on July 26, 2011, when he lambasted the ATF Phoenix office's performance in Fast and Furious, even as the supervisor of the operation sat nearby and tried to defend it.
"Everybody's saying this case was so big. It was complicated," Canino testified that day. "Firearms-trafficking cases are not complicated. The reason this was was so big is because we didn't do anything, plain and simple," to stop the traffickers.
"Nobody got stopped!" he said later, his voice rising. "How can you let somebody buy 730 guns? At what point are you going to stop him?"
Canino, a Puerto Rico native who grew up in the Boston area, answered more questions from the Star Friday.
Q: How do you restore people's trust in the ATF here in Arizona?
A: Just getting back to basics. One of the good things here is we have good agents. We have good supervisors. We have good senior leadership here. Our guys are hungry. They want to go out and do the job.
Q: Do you think you need to make big arrests of high-ranking gun traffickers?
A: You know, I've played sports all my life. If you're looking to hit a home run, you're going to strike out every time. You've just got to go out there, make contact and keep swinging. You're going to hit your home runs.
Because we're a small agency, obviously we have to be focused on the worst of the worst. We can't afford to throw a wide net because we just don't have the resources. We have to use intel-based policing to find who the worst of the worst are and target and go after them.
Q: As a result of Operation Fast and Furious, are agents quicker now to stop straw purchases and other gun crimes?
A: One of the tools that's been taken away from us here is … progressing with the investigation because we cannot afford to have a guy come out of a gun store or gun show with a trunk full of guns, get on I-10 or get on I-19 and we lose him, and those guns make it to Mexico.
If we've got to rip a load of guns, and just seize the guns and let the guy go - and the guns don't make it to the street but we don't have enough to arrest the guy - then that's what we have to do.
Q: In the Fast and Furious investigation, one explanation that's been given is that agents were prohibited from seizing weapons or making arrests because federal prosecutors said there was not probable cause in the purchase and immediate transfer of weapons. Does that point of view still hold in Arizona?
A: The U.S. Congress gives me the authority to arrest people, not the U.S. Attorney's Office. I can arrest whoever I want to arrest, and I present the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office. It's up to them if they want to prosecute or not.
Q: Is there any way to estimate the scale of the flow of guns from here in Southern Arizona to Mexico?
A: People say there's 2,000 guns a day going across (from the United States to Mexico). How do they come to that figure? There is no baseline for that. It's illegal to have a federal gun registry, so we don't know.
So, when these people say 2,000 guns a day - or say, 10,000 - you don't know. It's impossible. That's frustrating to me. It's amazing to me what some people don't know about the gun laws.
Q: What are some of the other things people don't know?
A: Until just recently on the multiple purchase, people who bought two or more handguns in a five-day period, they (licensed dealers) had to fill out a form and notify ATF. For rifles, you didn't have to do that. You could go into a gun store and buy 100 AK-47 variants. The only way we would know about that is when it turned up at a crime scene and we start tracing and find out that some guy bought a hundred of these a month and a half ago.
Now with this demand letter (a new requirement for licensed dealers to report multiple purchases of high-powered rifles made over a five-day period in the four border states) that's helping out, frankly. Now we can get on these guys a lot faster. If somebody comes in and orders or buys multiple guns, we know about it right away. We can say, "Hey, not for nothing, but you're a 19-year-old female on public assistance. Where did you get $28,000 to buy all these guns?"
Q: Have you been surprised at the widespread fallout from Operation Fast and Furious?
A: All I can say is, I'm eagerly awaiting the findings of the Office of Inspector General. We've already implemented changes. We have instituted an aggressive training program to ensure that this never happens again.
Note: very surprising that CNN included the beanbags in the report. Criminal negligence by the administration?
Feds unveil indictments in Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's slaying
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:38 PM EDT, Mon July 9, 2012
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010.
An indictment is unsealed charging five men with murder
Feds also offer up to $1 million to find four fugitives
The men are believed to be in Mexico
(CNN) -- Federal authorities unsealed Monday an indictment charging five men in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and offering up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of the four men still at large.
The investigation into the December 2010 killing revealed the existence of a botched federal operation that had sought to investigate U.S.-Mexican arms trafficking and led to the historic vote by the House of Representatives that found U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
The indictment charges Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal
A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged solely with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
A brief history of 'Fast and Furious'
A federal grand jury in the District of Arizona handed up the 11-count indictment November 7. It alleges that, on December 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza) were involved in a firefight with Border Patrol agents during which Terry was fatally shot.
The indictment says the defendants had entered the United States illegally from Mexico in order to rob drug traffickers of marijuana. Terry was fatally shot when he and other members of a Border Patrol tactical unit tried to apprehend the men, officials said.
Laura E. Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, noted to reporters in Tucson, Arizona, that covert efforts had not resulted in any arrests, and said officials decided it was in the best interests of the investigation to unseal the case and enlist the assistance of the public in the United States and Mexico.
Toward that end, James L. Turgal Jr., FBI special agent in charge, Phoenix Division, said the FBI was offering up to $250,000 per fugitive for information leading to their arrest.
The incident occurred in Rio Rico, Arizona, a remote area commonly used by people smuggling drugs into the country on foot, she said. It is about 10 miles north of the border.
That night, four members of the Border Patrol team were on a steep hill above a wash; two other team members were in a nearby observation post from which they could monitor foot traffic and relay radio communications, Duffy said.
Soon after 11 p.m., a ground sensor alerted the team to the presence of people on foot in the area; within a few minutes agents saw five armed men walking toward the agents, she said.
"As the armed group passed through the wash below, the agents announced their presence; several of the armed individuals turned with weapons raised," she said. The agents fired nonlethal bean-bag rounds at the subjects, who responded with gunfire, she said. A single bullet struck Terry, who died at the scene.
Four of the five suspects fled; the fifth, Manuel Osorio-Arellans, was wounded and taken into custody.
Two days before, on December 12, Border Patrol agents had arrested a sixth man, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, who was to have been part of the group, Duffy said. He was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.
He is Manuel Osorio-Arellanes' brother; both men are in custody in Arizona, Duffy said. "The other four are believed to be at large in Mexico." If they are arrested, U.S. officials will seek their extradition, she said.
The case has attracted attention because of its link to Operation Fast and Furious. Launched by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the operation was intended to track weapons purchases by Mexican drug cartels.
However, the operation lost track of more than 1,000 firearms that the agency had allowed straw buyers to carry across the border, and two of the lost weapons turned up at the scene of Terry's killing.
Duffy alluded to the controversy that has swirled around the case, which has provided ample fodder for AM-radio talk-show hosts, noting that "there are almost unprecedented atmospherics that have surrounded this case."
She would not say whether the bullet that killed Terry came from one of the guns involved in the botched program.
But, she added, "I want the Terry family and members of the U.S. Border Patrol to know that those atmospherics have not distracted the efforts of this prosecution team."
Congress voted June 28 to hold Holder in contempt for refusing to hand over documents related to the program.
Poll: Americans' views on contempt vote
Republicans said that was because he was not fully compliant with a House subpoena requesting the documents; Democrats and the Justice Department countered that the documents withheld were internal deliberations that have, by tradition, been kept private during past administrations of both parties.
"Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice," Holder said.
In a statement, Terry's family members thanked Duffy and the Mexican government for their efforts in the investigation and reiterated their call for Holder to comply with the request for documents related to the case.
"Agent Terry died as a hero protecting this country; he and his family rightly deserve a full and thorough explanation of how Operation Fast and Furious came to be," said Terry family attorney Patrick McGroder in the statement from the family.
Justice unseals indictment charging 5 in Brian Terry's death, offers $1M reward for leads on fugitives
Published July 09, 2012
The Justice Department on Monday unsealed an indictment charging five individuals allegedly involved in Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's death, and announced a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of those suspects still at large.
For the first time, federal officials also revealed that Terry and an elite squad of federal agents initially fired bean bags -- not bullets -- at a heavily armed drug cartel crew in the mountains south of Tucson in December 2011. During the exchange, Terry was shot and killed.
The announcement comes amid an intensifying debate over the department's failed Fast and Furious anti-gunrunning operation. Weapons from that program were found at Terry's murder scene -- Republicans seeking documents pertaining to Fast and Furious last month escalated their probe by voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, praised the department Monday for its announcement but questioned the timing.
"I applaud what they're doing, but I condemn the timing. It's very clear that the timing has everything to do with the House of Representatives holding Eric Holder in contempt," Issa told Fox News.
Issa, who led the contempt push, said Justice could have been doing more to find the suspects all along -- he called the timing of the FBI reward money "another example of using politics over good policy."
In a statement, the Brian Terry Foundation applauded federal prosecutors for taking additional steps to bring suspects to justice, but continued to call on Holder to turn over Fast and Furious documents.
"Today's developments certainly mean that the criminal prosecution of Brian Terry's killers is moving forward," Terry family attorney Patrick McGroder said.
The 11-count indictment, originally handed up by a grand jury in November 2011, implicates five defendants in the killing. A sixth suspect has also been charged in a related incident.
The two men in custody are Manuel Osario Arellanes -- who was wounded in the foot the night of the firefight -- and his brother Rito. Rito, who was arrested two nights before the Terry shooting, allegedly helped provide weapons to the criminal gang used in the shooting. All six men named in the indictment are either related or friends.
The other four are believed to be hiding out in Mexico, and the U.S. is now offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to their arrest. They are: Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga; Ivan Soto-Barraza; Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes; and Lionel Portillo-Meza.
According to the indictment, the five defendants are charged with crimes including first-degree murder, second-degree murder and assault on a federal officer. The indictment alleges that the five defendants also assaulted three other Border Patrol agents who were with Terry at the time.
"Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice," Holder said in a statement. "This investigation has previously resulted in one defendant being charged with Agent Terry's murder and taken into custody, and today's announcement reflects the department's unrelenting commitment to finding and arresting the other individuals responsible for this horrific tragedy so that Agent Terry's family, friends and fellow law enforcement agents receive the justice they deserve."
The names of the four suspects were revealed Monday, and their pictures released, to the public. Police in the U.S. and in Mexico are cooperating and under intense pressure to find them.
The FBI says it has been actively searching for the outstanding fugitives.
The case is being prosecuted in Tuscon by federal attorneys from the department's southern California district.
Anyone with information on the fugitives is asked to call the FBI's Phoenix office at 623-466-1999.
Fox News' William LaJeunesse contributed to this report.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/09/justice-unseals-indictment-charging-five-in-brian-terry-death/#ixzz20A3i1Fhk