The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, commonly referred to as the ATF, has promoted three officers involved in its spectacularly botched “Fast and Furious” sting operation. The ATF has been under increased scrutiny, and drug violence has been worsening.
Promotions blasted on Capitol Hill
The ATF, or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has come under an increasing amount of scrutiny. The agency’s “Fast and Furious” operation was infamously bungled, and thousands of guns were allowed to fall into the hands of drug cartels. The ATF, according to the Washington Times, recently promoted three of the officers involved in the mangled sting operation and moved them to the agency’s head office in Washington D.C., prompting a senior Senate Republican to give the agency both barrels. Senator John Cornyn of Texas said that it was “inconceivable to reward those who spearheaded this disastrous operation with cushy desk jobs in Washington.” A full congressional investigation of the program is under way.
Zero arrests made from sting operation
The “Fast and Furious” operation was a sting operation in which the ATF let “straw-buyers” purchase assault weapons and traffic them for sale to drug cartel members. The idea was to trace the guns and use them as evidence to bust cartel members. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 2,000 guns were purchased in the U.S. and re-sold to drug cartels, and not a single arrest was made. William G. McMahon was the deputy director of operations for the West office of the ATF, and William D. Newell and David Voth were both field supervisors in charge of the “Fast and Furious” sting. All three have been promoted to management positions in the ATF’s administrative offices in Washington, D.C. More than 200 guns from the probe have been found at crime scenes in Mexico, and two “Fast and Furious” guns, according to CBS, were found at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December of 2010.
Mexico still a war zone
Many areas in Mexico are every bit as dangerous as before, if not more so. According to MSNBC, for every cartel that the Mexican government scores a victory against by taking down one of its leaders, one or two more step in and take over. Four major drug cartels were the bulk of the menace when Felipe Calderon was elected president of Mexico in 2006. There are now more than a dozen. Narco-trafficking is a $40 billion per year business in Mexico. From 2003 t0 2009, poppy cultivation increased by 500 percent in Mexico. Cultivation of marijuana has tripled, and an estimated 42,000 people have died in Mexico because of narco-gang violence since 2006.
Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/16/cornyn-blasts-promotions-fast-furious-supervisors/
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-atf-guns-20110816,0,7676977.story
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