Kenneth Melson, William Hoover, William Newell, William McMahon, and Mark Chait are being held responsible in a Republican congressional report for the Fast and Furious operation that did not find any links between the White House or Obama and the “Fast and Furious” operation. The five taking the fall for the operation that killed US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry have been reassigned to different divisions with the US Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Kenneth Melson reportedly told investigators he felt the Justice Department was making him a scapegoat for the operation’s failure. “I think they were doing more damage control than anything,” Melson states in the report. “My view is that the whole matter of the department’s response in this case was a disaster.”
Gun walking is the term used to describe the Fast and Furious operation. The first known ATF “gunwalking” operation to Mexican drug cartels, named Operation Wide Receiver, began in early 2006 and ran into late 2007. Licensed dealer Mike Detty of Mad Dawg Global informed the ATF of a suspicious gun purchase that took place in February 2006 in Tucson, Arizona. In March he was hired as a confidential informant working with the ATF’s Tucson office, part of their Phoenix, Arizona field division. “Gun walking” describes a tactic where illegal arms are sold and then tracked after purchase. Brian Terry, of the US Border Patrol was a victim of this tactic.
In late, 2009, at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller and the top federal prosecutors met to discuss U.S. strategies to fight the drug war and Mexican drug cartels. They decided to go after arms trafficking networks instead of the lower level people.
The tactic of “letting guns walk”, instead of arresting and questioning the buyers, created problems in the AT. Some of the Group 7 members, including Olindo Casa and John Dodson, became more and more troubled by the tactic.
Around June 2010, after over one million dollars, and 1,608 firearms had disappeared through Phoenix gun shops, the ATF knew of 179 “Fast and Furious” weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico. They knew of another 130 weapons found from crime in the United States.
On the evening of December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others were patrolling Peck Canyon in Santa Cruz, Arizona along the Mexican border. There was a firefight and Brian Terry was killed. Two AK-47 rifles were traced to Fast and Furious.
A reward of up to $1 million is being offered for information leading to the arrest of four men wanted in connection with the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The four men are named Manuel Osorio Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela Astorga, Ivan Soto Barraza, Heraclio Osorio Arellanes and Lionel Portillo Meza.
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