One of the things that has always bugged me about Operation Fast and Furious – you know, the one where our own government sold arms to Mexican drug cartels in hopes of
ginning up American ire to call for more gun control dismantling their operations – was not just Agent Brian Terry’s death, but the lesser known but equally horrible and avoidable death of Agent Jaime Zapata. No one has discussed at length about the circumstances surrounding Zapata’s murder, until now.
One of the few reporters left in this country is Sharyl Atkisson, best-selling author and award-winning journalist, formerly of CBS and others, and now the host of a show called Full Measure.
Here are the details (be sure to watch the video):
Today we investigate the incredible case of a US federal agent who survived a brutal attack by Mexican drug cartel thugs. It shows how violent cartels are wreaking havoc south of the border. But it also says a lot about serious shortfalls inside the US government which is still stonewalling on unanswered questions — six long years later.
Victor Avila: I fought the assignment. I challenged it.
Sharyl Attkisson: You were supposed to drive down an extremely dangerous and maybe forbidden road, right?
Victor Avila: Correct.
Victor Avila was a special agent with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE in Mexico. On February 15, 2011, he and fellow ICE Agent Jaime Zapata got an unusual assignment: a task that required them to travel an infamous Mexican highway to pick up equipment.
Sharyl Attkisson: And the assignment was unusual because there was an edict not to travel on that road, is that correct?
Victor Avila: Correct. The U.S. Ambassador to the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy had issued a notice of alert, prohibiting all U.S. personnel to drive on Highway 57 northbound, specifically to Monterrey.
Sharyl Attkisson: Because the cartels control that highway.
Victor Avila: Correct. There was numerous amounts of violence and shootings involving the Mexican government and military and the cartels.
Sharyl Attkisson: Why would you be sent on an assignment that’s so dangerous, that defies instructions?
Victor Avila: I don’t know.
Not only that, they were sent on the forbidden road without the normal armed escort vehicle. So they were all alone, on the way back with Agent Zapata driving, when two SUVs approached and forced them off the highway. Zetas cartel members surrounded them, shoved the barrels of a handgun and an AK47 rifle into their slightly cracked-open window and opened fire.
As a reminder (emphasis mine):
Furthermore, the [Fast and Furious] may have had an explicitly political angle. E-mails obtained by CBS News in late 2011 showed ATF officials corresponding about the possibility of using Fast and Furious to push through a regulation requiring gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” In other words, the ATF permitted certain gun shops to conduct certain, inadvisable sales to dangerous people and then planned to point to those sales to justify the need for new reporting requirements.
Like it always does, the bad got worse (same NR article):
The guns have found their way north, too. A weapon owned by Nadir Soofi, one of the two Muslim terrorists who tried to shoot up Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas last May, was acquired through Fast and Furious.
Avila has sued the federal government in civil court, and I hope he wins. Considering that, so far, we’ve heard nothing but stone-cold silence from Obama administration and nothing yet from the Trump administration, I doubt he – and justice loving Americans – will get the closure he deserves.
God help us.
Image: By ATF – DOJ OIG Report 19 Sep 2012 http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/2012/s1209.pdf, Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37454916