Mike Vanderboegh pointed out a story from McAllen, TX this morning. It featured comments by Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Champion made to the KRGV.com. In it he said:
“You have guys that are money man, one guy is in charge of getting the straw purchasers,” he says.
Champion says the ATF is now seeing a change in the way the cartel operates. Instead of buying weapons locally they’re getting them from all over the country and using the drug routes in reverse to get them back to Mexico.
“The straw purchasers will come back to the guy that gave them the money. He accumulates the firearms. Another individual comes as the transporter to pick up the firearms and move them to different locations,” says Champion.
Champion then adds that “the ATF can’t do much to stop the transport” once it is in the smuggler’s hands.
If the theory behind the new ATF reporting requirement for sales of certain semi-automatic rifles that went into effect on August 14th in the four Southwestern border states was that the straw purchases were happening there and the reporting requirement would let ATF intercept these illegally purchased firearms quicker, then doesn’t what SAC Champion has to say undercut the entire rationale?
I have been told by drug enforcement detectives working here in western North Carolina that most of the meth sold here comes from Mexico by way of Atlanta. They rarely find meth labs anymore. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the same route drug traffickers use to bring the meth to the mountains can also be used to bring a truckload of AKs back to a safe house in McAllen or DelRio or Brownsville. With meth being an equal-opportunity drug, the traffickers could just as easily use Joe Bob or Earl or Bubba instead of one of the local Latinos to make the straw purchase at Pawn World.
Moreover, doesn’t concentrating so-called enforcement in one area or region just encourage the traffickers to spread out and get more discrete about it? In other words, by focusing on McAllen or Phoenix or other Southwestern areas, hasn’t the DOJ and ATF just pushed the crime to other areas of the country?
It would be nice if the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee brought SAC Champion in to testify about trafficking in his neck of the woods. He might have learned a thing or two about gun walking while he was a Group Supervisor earlier in his career in Phoenix. And while they are at it, they might want to ask him about his role in the botched raid in Waco.