Thursday, November 29, 2012

Columbus Gun Smugglers Linked to ‘Fast & Furious’

A gun smuggling operation run by former Columbus town officials had a direct link to targets of the bungled “Fast and Furious” operation run by federal officials in Arizona, according to reports obtained by the Journal. Federal prosecutors have sought to distance the Columbus gun smuggling case – code-named “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”- from the Arizona probe, which has been the subject of a two-year congressional investigation and a running battle between Republicans and Attorney General Eric Holder. But reports obtained by the Journal show that in April 2010, federal agents were aware that the leader of the Columbus ring – town trustee Blas “Woody” Gutierrez – had been stopped a few months earlier with weapons purchased by a suspected “straw man” involved in the Fast and Furious case in Arizona. In the Fast and Furious case, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed high-powered weapons purchased by straw buyers to “walk” into Mexico and had a failed plan to track and seize them. Of the 2,000 weapons purchased by the Arizona ring, 1,400 were never recovered and two were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Dec. 15, 2010. In the New Mexico investigation, federal agents connected more than 200 gun purchases to the Columbus ring and recovered 40 weapons. Most of the AK-47-like pistols that were recovered were seized by law enforcement in January and February 2011 shortly before the Columbus gang was indicted...more

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