Jaime Zapata – 10 Years On

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the ambush and murder of ICE-HSI Special Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico. He was killed by narcoterrorists with the drug cartel Los Zetas and his partner Victor Avila was seriously wounded. Some of the weapons used by the narcoterrorists were walked to Mexico as part of the Obama-Biden Administration’s Operation Fast and Furious.

Victor Avila was our guest tonight on the Polite Society Podcast. He spoke about the ambush and the aftermath.

His interview starts at the 10 minute mark and runs to about the 40 minute mark. We had some audio difficulty towards the end due to winter storm-related power issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.

Last year, the US Office of Special Counsel issued a report that stated Agents Zapata and Avila received insufficient support for their mission in Mexico.

The investigation, conducted by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, substantiated that ICE officials failed to provide the agents additional support for their mission from either U.S. personnel or Mexican law enforcement. The agency also failed to properly brief and prepare the agents in advance of the assignment to discuss the cargo, security measures, and any other relevant information. The report confirmed that there was “a known lack of diligence with regard to the maintenance of the ICE armored vehicles.”  For example, it was known prior to the incident that the agents’ armored vehicle did not have properly functioning tracking equipment.

The investigation revealed that, at the time of the attack, management lacked specific policies and procedures for the execution of the agency mission in Mexico. For example, the agency lacked formalized policies with respect to travel; did not provide counter threat training to those stationed in Mexico; and did not provide armored vehicle training to employees in Mexico. Additionally, the Mexico City office suffered from weak operational security, which was evident in the lack of planning and execution for the trip taken by Agent Avila and Agent Zapata.

One thing that stood out in our interview with Victor was that some of the records from the Department of Justice regarding Operation Fast and Furious are still locked up. They were initially kept sealed under the Obama Administration’s claim of executive privilege. Despite President Trump’s pledge to the Terry family to release them, they still have never been released and I’m sure President Biden will make sure they never see the light of day.

Victor has written a book on his efforts to get the truth released among other things. It is called Agent Under Fire: A Murder and a Manfesto. I just ordered my copy tonight.

The Next Battle Has Begun – Salvo Two

The next salvo in this battle came yesterday from Joe Biden. After bemoaning the lives lost to “gun violence” (sic), he lists a number of “commonsense” items that will solve the issue and “make us safer.”

Three years ago today, a lone gunman took the lives of 14 students and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever.

For three years now, the Parkland families have spent birthdays and holidays without their loved ones. They’ve missed out on the experience of sending their children off to college or seeing them on their first job after high school. Like far too many families, they’ve had to bury pieces of their soul deep within the Earth. Like far too many families — and, indeed, like our nation — they’ve been left to wonder whether things would ever be okay.

These families are not alone. In big cities and small towns. In schools and shopping malls. In churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. In movie theaters and concert halls. On city street corners that will never get a mention on the evening news. All across our nation, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends have known the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. And in this season of so much loss, last year’s historic increase in homicides across America, including the gun violence disproportionately devastating Black and Brown individuals in our cities, has added to the number of empty seats at our kitchen tables. Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence.

Over these three years, the Parkland families have taught all of us something profound. Time and again, they have showed us how we can turn our grief into purpose – to march, organize, and build a strong, inclusive, and durable movement for change.

The Parkland students and so many other young people across the country who have experienced gun violence are carrying forward the history of the American journey. It is a history written by young people in each generation who challenged prevailing dogma to demand a simple truth: we can do better. And we will.

This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer. Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.

Here is an inconvenient truth that Mr. Biden will never acknowledge. It was the policies of the Obama-Biden Administration that created the circumstances that allowed a troubled, angry, and violent young man to stay off the radar and pass a NICS check.

And since we are talking about the deaths of those with brown skin, it was also the policies of the Obama-Biden Administration with Operation Fast and Furious aka Project Gunwalker that sent thousands of weapons south of the border which led to the deaths of at least 300 Mexican nationals.

Government Still Doesn’t Want To Discuss Fast And Furious

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There are things that the US Government doesn’t want discussed in open court and Operation Fast and Furious is one of them. This is true even in a criminal trial against a cartel boss. The cartel boss is question is Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera aka El Chapo of the Sinoloa Cartel. Perhaps I should say that the government especially doesn’t want to have any discussion of Operation Fast and Furious in a case involving the cartel which received the firearms.

Guzman was extradited to the United States in 2017 and is now on trial in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Brian Cogan, a George W. Bush appointee, is the presiding judge in the case. Guzman’s attorney is A. Eduardo Balarezo. He is a criminal defense attorney who handles Federal cases involving high profile defendants like Guzman. The prosecution team is headed by Richard Donoghue who is the US Attorney for the Eastern District.

The government has filed a motion in Limine to exclude questioning about Operation Fast and Furious. They are contending it will confuse the jury and prejudice the government’s case against Guzman.

The defense strategy is transparent. Given the substantial number of articles
that have been written about the Operation, many of which criticize the government’s handling
of the movement of weapons from the United States into Mexico, the defense is attempting to
use the well-known operation to place the government on trial. While the government will
seek to introduce at trial seized weapons that had been identified by ATF agents within the
scope of the Operation,1 any details about the Operation itself are completely irrelevant to the
issues at trial under Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and should be excluded on
those grounds alone.
To the extent that the details of the Operation are in any way relevant,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 403, any minimal relevance would be greatly outweighed
by the substantial risk of misleading the jury and unfair prejudice against the government.



The government respectfully seeks a ruling at this time precluding any further
mention of the Operation, and in so doing, incorporates by reference its previous arguments in its Motions in Limine, Dkt. Nos. 213, 326. In light of the extensive reporting on the Operation,
repeated references to the Operation in defense cross-examination questions create a
substantial risk of tainting the jury, even if government objections to the questions are
sustained by the Court and the witnesses are not required to answer the objectionable questions.

Judge Cogan had denied an earlier attempt to exclude this under the grounds that it was premature. From what I can tell, he has not ruled on this attempt to exclude this from being heard by the jury. Many of the orders are either restricted or under seal and cannot be seen by the general public, i.e, me and thee.

The New York Daily News is reporting on the trial including the motion by the government to exclude this information. Like most of the mainstream media, they are still referring to it as a “botched sting” operation. As Kurt Hofmann wrote over seven years ago, the only thing botched was the cover-up. It was true then and it is still true today.

It’s About Time DOJ Released These Docs

The Department of Justice announced today that it had entered into a conditional agreement with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to release the documents it has been withholding for six years related to Operation Fast and Furious.

From the DOJ release:



Today, the Department of Justice entered into a conditional settlement agreement with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and will begin to produce additional documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. The conditional settlement agreement, filed in federal court in Washington D.C., would end six years of litigation arising out of the previous administration’s refusal to produce documents requested by the Committee.

In announcing the settlement, Attorney General Sessions said:

“The Department of Justice under my watch is committed to transparency and the rule of law. This settlement agreement is an important step to make sure that the public finally receives all the facts related to Operation Fast and Furious.”

It is a shame that Mike Vanderboegh did not live to see this after all the effort he and David Codrea put in to getting the story out to the public.

It’s Been Over 7 Years And DOJ Is Still Stiffing The Terry Family

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The family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has been waiting over seven years for the Department of Justice to release documents related to his death. As this tweet by former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) makes clear, they will have to keep waiting.

That Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to hide the role of the Department of Justice in the death of Agent Terry is unconscionable. It was what we expected from his predecessors. Frankly, for this and so many more reasons, it is time for Sessions to be sent home to Alabama.

The Terry family was promised back during the presidential campaign by Donald Trump he would get them justice.

They are still waiting.

If you would like to send a message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, here is the link.

David Codrea On Robert Mueller And Gunwalking

David Codrea along with the late Mike Vanderboegh were the two independent journalists who helped bring Operation Fast and Furious to the light of day. I doubt there is anyone around today who has a better knowledge of it than David. Thus, it was with great interest that I saw a post by David at Ammoland.com asking about former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s role in the affair.

The key part:

He (Mueller) was asked to stay on beyond his 10-year term by Barack Obama, curiously just as things were starting to heat up on the Operation Fast and Furious investigations by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “Gunwalking” and the Brian Terry murder took place on his watch, and Mueller’s FBI, with its confidential informants being tracked as suspects by ATF, was up to its neck in things.


Outrageously, there is no reason to expect Congress to be any more successful at exposing the full truth than they have been so far at holding Eric Holder accountable for his Fast and Furious obstruction. Nor, as we see from the preponderance of agenda reporting, lies of omission and outright fake news can establishment media be relied on. As with the original Fast and Furious reporting, expect new revelations to come from independent efforts while those with the mass reach fall back on deliberate indifference and hoping not too many notice.

 David notes that Mueller condemned the Supreme Court’s decision in DC v. Heller. It may be just a coincidence and it may be that Mueller along with Eric Holder was helping to pull the strings. We just don’t know. However, I will say that David rarely speculates without substantial evidence in hand.

David goes on to add that an independent film that had been shelved dealing with Operation Fast and Furious is being resurrected.

See David’s post for the complete story on the film and on Mueller.

Fast And Furious Revisited

Sharyl Attkisson had a story this morning on her Full Measure news show about Operation Fast and Furious and BATFE Senior Agent John Dodson. Since it isn’t syndicated in all markets, I have embedded it below.

As I watched her interview with Agent Dodson, I was struck by a few things. First, Dodson is a brave and ethical man. He is still with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives despite all the crap thrown his way by his own agency. He has been transferred 11 times in the six years since he blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious. It is obvious that the powers that be in BATFE – who just happened to be in positions of power six years ago – want him gone. Dodson has gone into some detail about his experiences in his own book over the scandal.

Second, I am aghast that the Department of Justice under President Trump and AG Sessions has not seen fit to release all the documents sought by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. I have to hope that the reason the documents haven’t been released is because the issue hasn’t been brought before Sessions himself. If I remember it correctly, Jeff Sessions and his staff were some of the first people approached by the late Mike Vanderboegh regarding the gunwalking.

Third, the Deep State exists. There are still people in positions of power who are working tirelessly to retaliate against whistleblowers like John Dodson and to continue submerging the truth about Project Gunwalker aka Fast and Furious. Until these people are rooted out and dismissed, I doubt the full truth will ever be known.

Earlier this month, the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee released another report which dealt with the obstruction of Congress by the DOJ with regards to Operation Fast and Furious. The report concluded that there were failures (1) to provide answers to the Terry family, (2) there was a failure to objectively gather the facts, (3) there was a significant lack of respect for Congressional oversight, and (4) that former Attorney General Eric Holder’s priorities were politics and spin.

Project Gunwalker Is Back In the News

Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious is back in the news. That is because the suspected killer of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has been apprehended in Mexico on Tuesday.

William Lajeunesse of FoxNews reports:

The suspect, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, was apprehended by a joint U.S.-Mexico law enforcement task force that included the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals and the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC).

A $250,000 reward had been sought for information leading to the arrest of Osorio-Arellanes, who was captured at a ranch on the border of the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua. U.S. authorities have said they will seek his extradition.

Terry was killed on Dec. 14, 2010 in a gunfight between Border Patrol agents and members of a five-man cartel “rip crew,” which regularly patrolled the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border looking for drug dealers to rob.

The agent’s death exposed Operation Fast and Furious, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation in which the federal government allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix-area shops with the intention of tracking them once they made their way into Mexico. But the agency lost track of more than 1,400 of the 2,000 guns they allowed smugglers to buy. Two of those guns were found at the scene of Terry’s killing.

Four members of the “rip crew” have been arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison in the United States. Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga is the only remaining member of the “rip crew” still at large.

In a sane world, the involvement of the Obama Administration and Attorney General Eric Holder in Project Gunwalker should have brought it down. It didn’t. Given all the talk about “fake news”, this whole sordid episode is a reminder of how the mainstream media did not do its job.

The only two mainstream reporters that worked on the story were Fox’s Lajeuness and then-CBS Investigative Report Sharyl Attkisson. If it was not for the efforts of the late Mike Vanderboegh, David Codrea, and Dave Workman, we never would have even known that the Justice Department and the BATFE were involved in allowing firearm to be walked to Mexico in an effort to build support for gun control measures.

While nothing will bring back Brian Terry, I’m happy to see his killer apprehended.

This And That

I was out of town at the end of last week at a company meeting. I missed that the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee was having a hearing regarding the death of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata. However, David Codrea didn’t miss it nor the fact that two BATFE officials on their own accord skipped the meeting despite being “invited” to appear.

He (former Agent Vince Cefalu) was referring to Thursday’s appearance (video below) before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Activities by Thomas E. Brandon, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The hearing was held to further explore the ambush murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata by cartel operatives in Mexico, where “straw-purchased” guns allowed by ATF to “walk” across the border were recovered from the scene.

Two of Brandon’s agents, Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk and Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge William Temple, were no-shows to the hearing. They decided on their own not to come testify, and Brandon informed Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz that he agreed with their decision.

Recognizing a continuation of the stonewalling that was dragged on for years by ATF and the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, Chaffetz was having none of it. He immediately issued subpoenas for Temple and Turk to appear on March 22.

Ronald Turk, you may recall, is the one who wrote a white paper discussing, among other things, removing suppressors from the NFA. You’d think a guy who is clearly aiming to be named the new Director of BATFE would want some face time with Congress even if it wasn’t going to be all favorable.

I also missed that Remington Arms Company is again laying off employees at their Ilion, New York plant due to slowing sales. My friend Rob Morse didn’t miss it. He noted:

Remington Arms is moving out of anti-gun New York..one layoff at a time. They expand their production in Alabama during a market increase, and cut from the New York plant during the downturns. I guess elections have consequences as New York voters raised both the price of doing business and of owning a gun in NY.

If you listen to the news lately, you would think that the mainstream media has been teleported to the 1950s with all the hysteria over Russia. It is almost like that 60s move The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! Lest you think that we in the gun culture are exempt from the Russian hysteria, Sebastian discusses a Daily Beast article trying to tie the NRA to Vlad (the Impaler) Putin.

I did work the GRNC booth Saturday morning at the Asheville Gun Show. While our business was a bit slow, the crowds seemed bigger than this time last year. I don’t know whether it was bargain shopping on the part of attendees or because we were supposed to get snow Saturday night.

I didn’t check the prices of ARs at the show but they did seem down at the Winston-Salem show I attended the preceding weekend. If anyone is looking for an AR15, now is as good a time as you’ll ever get to buy one. I have seen Ruger AR-555s selling under $500 at multiple locations, off-brands for under $400, and the S&W M&P-15 in the low $500 range. If you want to look for deals, check the Reddit sub group called gun deals.

Project Gunwalker: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious is the gift that keeps on giving. If the Department of Justice and the BATFE wanted guns that had been walked to keep showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, they got their wish.

The Associated Press reported this morning that a .50 BMG rifle found at Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout in January was one of the ones sold through a straw purchase in Operation Fast and Furious.

Officials say the weapon was one of 19 firearms that Mexican authorities said was recovered from the hideout and was the only one determined to be associated with the botched sting operation (sic), in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed gun-runners to buy weapons in hopes of tracking them and disrupting gun smuggling rungs (sic).

The rifle was bought in July 2010 in a straw purchase by someone not known to ATF at the time. The buyer was later identified and came under investigation but was never indicted. The weapon is not known to be associated with any other crime, the Justice Department says.

This information was revealed in a letter from Assistant AG for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Chairman Jason Chaffetz. This letter gave an accounting of walked firearms that had been recovered in the US and Mexico.

“ATF accepts full responsibility for the flawed execution of Fast and Furious, and will continue to support Mexican law enforcement in efforts to recover and identify associated firearms.’’

As of January, according to the Justice Department letter, 885 firearms purchased by targets of the ATF operation have been recovered. Of that number, 415 were found in the U.S. and 470 “appear to have been recovered in Mexico.’’

The same letter confirmed prior reports that one of 19 weapons — a .50-caliber rifle — recovered in the January raid in Mexico that resulted in the re-capture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman also was traced to the ATF operation.

The letter goes on to say that the Department of Justice “deeply regrets” that firearms connected to Project Gunwalker were used in violent crimes. If they really regretted it, former Attorney General Eric Holder would have been tried for his contempt of Congress citation and BATFE officials would have been fired and not merely moved around. As it is, Holder never was prosecuted and former Phoenix FD SAC William Newell, ASAC George Gillett, and Deputy Assistant Director Bill McMahon were never fired.

The only people who suffered as a result of Project Gunwalker were Brian Terry, Jaime Zapata, 300 plus Mexicans, and their families who had to bury their loved ones. You could also add in the whistleblowers like Sr Agent John Dodson who had his life made a living hell by the powers that be.