ICE Investigators Violated Policy to Help “Fast and Furious” Gun-Running Program

Saturday, March 30, 2013
Fast and Furious Guns (photo: Rebekah Zemansky, Cronkite News)

Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violated their agency’s own policy by cooperating with the Department of Justice’s “Fast and Furious” operation that allowed guns to wind up in the hands of drug traffickers.


The purpose of Operation Fast and Furious was to spy on people who were illegally buying firearms on behalf of others and then turning them over to drug cartels. Investigators did, in fact, follow weapons from their purchase to their transfer. But once the illegal connection was proven, surveillance ceased. About 1,430 firearms remain missing. Two were found at the scene of the December 2010 murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.


Homeland Security Inspector General Charles K. Edwards and his team uncovered the improper cooperation by ICE. According to his report, the cooperation between lower level ICE officials and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which was running the controversial operation, was not communicated to senior Homeland Security officials until three months after Terry was killed.


ICE agents reportedly told Edwards that they believed they were supposed to go along with “Fast and Furious” because the Office of the Assistant Attorney General asked an ICE investigative unit in Arizona to stop its investigations into weapons smuggling that could have disrupted ATF’s operation.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Report: ICE Investigators Cooperated with ‘Fast and Furious’ (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

DHS Involvement in OCDETF Operation Fast and Furious (Homeland Security Office of Inspector General) (pdf)

Is This the Most Bungled ATF Sting Operation Ever? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Family of Border Patrol Officer Killed with Fast and Furious Gun Sues U.S. Government (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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