ATF gunrunning weapons turning up in Phoenix crime investigations
posted at 9:55 am on July 1, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
If Americans think that the ATF’s gunrunning fiasco will only impact Mexico, think again. The same porous border that allowed the ATF and the Department of Justice to send a flood of illegal weapons south has already allowed for them to flow north as well. The ABC affiliate in Phoenix uncovers evidence that weapons from Operation Fast and Furious have been found in crime scenes in the Valley of the Sun, a situation that one ATF agent says will continue “for years to come”:
For months the ABC15 Investigators have been searching through police reports and official government documents. We’ve discovered assault weapons linked to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ controversial “Fast and Furious” case strategy have turned up at crime scenes in Glendale and Phoenix communities. …
The ABC15 Investigators uncovered documents showing guns connected to at least two Glendale criminal cases and at least two Phoenix criminal cases also appear in the ATF’s Suspect Gun Database, a sort-of watch list for suspicious gun sales.
All four cases involve drug-related offenses. In one Glendale police report dated July 2010, police investigators working with DEA agents served search warrants at homes near 75th and Glendale avenues in Glendale, and 43rd and Glendale avenues in Phoenix as part of a “large scale marijuana trafficking” investigation.
Police investigators reported they “obtained information that members of the (trafficking) organization were using the homes…as stash houses used to store large amounts of marijuana temporarily.”
They reported finding hundreds of pounds of marijuana, more than $63,000 in U.S. currency and three guns inside the homes. One of the recovered weapons, a Romarm/Cugir WASR-10 rifle, appeared in an official ATF Suspect Gun Summary document in November 2009, proving agents knowingly allowed the suspicious gun sale, months before the weapon turned up at the crime scene.
In a separate Glendale Police Department case, dated November 2010, detectives discovered “bulk marijuana and weapons” inside a residence near 75th Avenue and Bethany Home Road in Glendale. Investigators recovered nearly 400 pounds of drugs and several firearms from the home.
One of the recovered weapons, another Romarm/Cugir WASR-10 rifle, appeared in an official ATF Suspect Gun Summary document in February 2010.
It could have been worse. Another case involved a traffic stop, where an ATF-linked AK-47 was seized. The officer who made the arrest should count himself lucky that the weapon was still in the trunk and not in the suspect’s hands.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) promises to investigate these cases toward the end of the video, and also warns that Phoenix hasn’t been the only area that has seen ATF weapons fueling crime. Congress should get to the bottom of that immediately. How many more cities will be paying the price for this tragically botched operation?