Sunday, September 30, 2012



Note: This just Appeared in Milenio, one of the major media
organizations in Mexico.
Some of the minor details may be a bit shaky. But as we have been
pointing out for couple years now, details on firearms recovered have
been systematically suppressed, by both federal governments. By
some unusual coincidence, about the same time the next shipment of
U.S. taxpayer money started coming to the Mexican government. Very
difficult to get any details anymore, especially make, model and
serial number. All critical for learning what happened. As is
usual, we can expect any future documentation to have been "edited".

The short trip from an AK-47 to Mexico.

This is the reconstruction of a journey of an AK-47 from the U.S. to
Mexico. Undertake a journey that thousands of weapons every year and
that has fueled the war and against the drug cartels. Death begins in
a Phoenix store.

Feature: The short path of one rifle
By Victor Hugo Michel

We are in the north of the state Sonora, on the state road linking
the towns of Saric with Tubutama, in a desert canyon in the Altar
area. It's the first of July 2010 and there are dead everywhere. A
total twenty-one found dead, officials said.

Our subject-Russian-born, American-trained but whose presence in
Mexico is illegal - is in the midst of what has all the earmarks of
being a battleground between fired cases used and broken bodies.

Virtually all vehicles, about 50 in total, are shot. Then they will
know what happened: from the cliffs, the Beltran Leyva gunmen
intercept a Sinaloa cartel convoy traveling north.

The character in question would be at the bottom of the body of the
white van filled with bullet holes, lying near a body with skull
partially destroyed. Or in the front seat of a Ford pickup with the
doors open. Or maybe it could be the one held by a man dressed in
military fatigues lying face down in a pool of his own blood.

Who seek is one that three, because only three suspects covering the
necessary description were found there. We seek an Avtomat
Kalashnikova model 1947, better known as AK-47 and even more popular
by it's alias Mexican goat's horn. The deadliest assault rifle and
widely used in the world, favored by guerrillas, gunmen and armies
for its firepower.

In this case, we look for a rifle produced in a factory in Arizona
under Russian license, bought by a U.S. citizen in a store in Phoenix
and then sold illegally to the Sinaloa cartel for use in Mexico.
Everything under the supervision of the Bureau of Alcohol, Snuff and
Firearms U.S. (ATF for its acronym in English).

Numerous attempts have been made over recent years to track a single
weapon, purchased at a particular point in the United States, to a
crime scene in Mexico. So far, the authorities of both countries have
been reluctant to reconstruct that trip. Have revealed neither the
serial numbers and date of sale or origin of the weapons seized in
Mexico, data which could establish a roadmap of how guns are flowing
from north to south.

But at last we can finally trace the journey of an assault rifle from
one country to another. It was not until this week that the last of
the items needed to complete the puzzle fell into place, to present
the final report of the internal inspector of the Department of
Justice United States on Operation Fast and Furious.

In addition to data contained in documents of the Federal Court of
Arizona and independent investigations of the Supervisory Committee
of the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department report allows for almost
complete accuracy with the path taken by one of those assault rifles,
from the day it was purchased and the name of the store where it was
purchased, until the identity of the buyer, the price and its
endpoint, in Mexico, with a score of bodies.

In its independent investigation into Fast and Furious, the U.S.
Congress had been close to creating that map: reported that after the
battle of Tubutama a gun bought in Arizona had been recovered in
the town in Sonora. But they declined to answer key questions: what
kind of gun was it? Who bought it?

And further: where exactly was it acquired?

A Joshua David Moore can be defined as a "straw buyer" means a person
who gives his name to purchase a gun in the U.S. but then transferred
illegally to a third party.

This American citizen could be indirectly responsible for an
undetermined number of deaths in Mexico. It is one of 20 co-
defendants in the judicial process of USA vs Jaime Avila et al, which
currently run by the U.S. government to gunrunners responsible those
who have sold a hundred assault rifles to the Mexican drug cartels.
His case is part of the disaster called Operation Fast and Furious.

Along with his teammates, Moore will be sentenced Oct. 15 in federal
court in Phoenix for his role in the purchase of more than a thousand
different assault rifles in gunshops in Arizona. However, that is a
fact that the Justice Department wanted to keep secret. The names of
the stores involved in the Fast and Furious scandal have been kept
under strict confidentiality.

But the court case against the traffickers of Fast and Furious,
contained in the file CR-11-126-PHX, overcomes this absence. And
details on where they bought the bulk of weapons trafficked into
Mexico under the consent of the ATF: the Lone Wolf Trading Company
the 5140 West Peoria Avenue in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix.

It was at that store where Moore purchased the November 2, 2009 the
first of a hundred AK-47 rifles that later lead to Mexico. The
Justice Department report details why Andre Howard, owner of Lone
Wolf, had no complaints whatsoever opposed to repeated purchases of
assault rifles by Moore, as he was a government informant and had
instructions to sell as many weapons as he was asked .

Moore returned on November 10th to buy 10 more rifles. From the
beginning, he was observed closely by agents of the Bureau of
Alcohol, Snuff and Amas U.S. Fire (ATF for its acronym in English),
who were in the shop right at the time of the transaction. The whole

"When officers visited (Howard) observed an individual later
identified as Moore would buy 10 AK-47 type weapons. At the end of
November, had bought 67 AK-47 rifles ... at a price of about $ 32,000. "

That translates to Moore spent $ 477 per weapon. By the end of March
2010, he had purchased at the same store another 30 rifles. In total,
up to the time of his arrest, he acquired 141 AK-47, of which only 50
have been found. The rest are still missing.

Despite the responsibilities he may have, to Moore does not expect a
sentence too long. A plea agreement or plea agreement dated 24 April,
details already negotiated with the federal attorney and pled guilty
for not more than 10 years in prison.
The purchase that concerns us, the Moore linking with the slaughter
of Tubutama, was held on November 11. That day he returned to Lone
Wolf and acquired five AK-47 rifles which were then taken to a safe
house in a auto shop in the south of Phoenix.

The weapons were kept for several days in the American company
facilities, Autobody, located at 3501 West Lincoln Avenue from, from
where they were later transported to the Mexican border via Nogales.

The trace of the weapons purchased by Moore fades once in Mexico,
where the assault rifles were sent to different places.

But seven months later, a portion of that shipment reappeared. It was
an AK-47 rifle which was found about 30 kilometers from the border,
in a desert landscape, site of a battle between drug cartels.

"In July the first, 2010, about a dozen guns were recovered in
Sonora, following a shootout between two rival Mexican cartels which
resulted in 21 deaths. One of the recovered weapons had been
purchased by the suspect Joshua Moore of Operation Fast and Furious,
on 11 November 2009, "the Justice Department determined.

The Ak-47 was from Lone Wolf. It had traveled 371 kilometers from
point of sale and point of end use.

Victor Hugo Michel
Book Reporter 2.0.
Journalist specializing in US-Mexico relationship. National Award for
Research and Information Access 2011. Honorable Mention National
Journalism Prize Fernando Benitez. Special Affairs Reporter
Millennium Group in its various platforms (Milenio Diario, Weekly
Goals, Millennium Radio Television and Multimedia). He has worked in
national newspapers Reforma and Excelsior. He has collaborated with
international correspondents Dallas Morning News and The World,
National Public Radio in the United States. Partner of Leopard and
Esquire magazines and W Radio.

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