So far all the attention on the ATF and gunwalking has been confined to the Southwest with the Phoenix Field Division at the epicenter of it all. However, David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh are reporting tonight that the Tampa Field Division may have been involved in gunwalking to Honduras. This project may have been part of “Operation Castaway” which dealt with firearms trafficking in central Florida.
SAC (Virginia) O’Brien was previously the Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division, was later promoted to the Deputy Assistant Director of ATF, but then stepped down to the position in Tampa. Whether the allegations of our source refer to the on-going Operation Castaway remains at this hour unclear, but our source is certain that O’Brien has allowed the “walking” of straw-purchased firearms to Honduras using the same failed strategy as the Phoenix Field Division’s Operation Fast and Furious. That Operation Castaway involved arms smuggling to Honduras is also certain.
“This is confirmed as accurate,” the correspondence continued. “There are emails in existence where O’Brien has advised those involved that Tampa does not have to report their walked guns because Tampa FD is not a part of Southwest Border or Project Gunrunner.”
“From a first person source she is shitting herself trying to cover it up,” the report stated.
If this source proves credible and this report is accurate, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be lucky to survive an additional scandal involving gunwalking.
A news release on Operation Castaway from 2010 can be found here.
UPDATE: Why Honduras? Mike Vanderboegh has a post that explains the expansion of the Mexican drug cartels to this Central American country and the role of the military there in supplying arms.
As to more information on SAC Virginia O’Brien, she has been under the radar for the most part if a Google search is any indication. She had been the SAC of the Phoenix FD prior to William Newell and had been Assistant Deputy Director of ATF under Acting Director Michael Sullivan.
I did find mention of her in regards to former Deputy Director and now New York County Sheriff Edgar Domenach for giving him a mediocre performance evaluation. The only other real mentions of her come in the official press releases sent out by the Tampa Field Division. Unlike Andrew Traver, she doesn’t seem to be one that seeks out the press for personal publicity.