ATF Program Let Hundreds of Guns go to Drug Cartels

Sunday, March 06, 2011
Brian Terry
The justification was that key people in drug cartels would be brought to justice. But the prosecutions were slow to happen, and in the meantime at least 797 firearms fell into the hands of dangerous criminals, causing unknown amounts of crimes and destruction.
That sums up a controversial operation—dubbed “Fast and Furious”—by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which allowed everything from handguns to semi-automatic rifles to fall into the hands of Mexican drug criminals. The controversy came to a head in December 2010 when two guns from the program were found at the scene of the Arizona murder of a Customs and Border Protection agent, Brian Terry.
Some ATF agents objected early on to the strategy of letting buyers with known connections to cartels purchase firearms from American gun shops, so that the weapons could be tracked as they wound up being used in criminal activity. One agent, John Dodson, was so upset that he went to his supervisors and the Department of Justice’s inspector general, but his concerns were ignored. So Dodson spoke publicly about the program and talked to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is now investigating ATF’s decision-making.
Dodson said in an interview with The Center for Public Integrity that “with the number of guns we let walk, we’ll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed…there is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.”
ATF reportedly allowed 1,765 firearms over 15 months to pass from gun dealers to straw buyers helping the cartels. Nearly 800 guns were eventually recovered during busts in the U.S. and Mexico.
But the risk has not provided much reward for ATF or federal prosecutors who have produced little in the way of arrests or convictions as a result of Fast and Furious.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
ATF Let Hundreds of U.S. Weapons Fall into Hands of Suspected Mexican Gunrunners (by John Solomon, David Heath and Gordon Witkin, Center for Public Integrity)


Va Gun Owners Forum 8 years ago
I appreciate your report on this topic and have linked to it as a reference in my latest newsletter at, requesting that my members take action by contacting their representatives to demand an inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious. Thank you for helping get the word out about what goes on behind the scenes in our government. Rick - Owner

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