Fast and Furious: The Ciudad Juarez student slaughter
On Sunday, Spanish-language network Univision aired a major report on the Obama Administration’s deadly gun-running program, Operation Fast and Furious, which told a few more of the grisly stories American networks have been studiously avoiding.
On January 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez. Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.
Another Ciudad Juarez bloodbath carried out with Fast and Furious guns killed 18 young men at a rehab center in September 2009. According to ABC’s summary of the Univision report, Fast and Furious made a bad situation much, much worse:
In Mexico, the timing of the operation coincided with an upsurge of violence in the war among the country’s strongest cartels. In 2009, the northern Mexican states served as a battlefield for the Sinaloa and Juarez drug trafficking organizations, and as expansion territory for the increasingly powerful Zetas. According to documents obtained by Univision News, from October of that year to the end of 2010, nearly 175 weapons from Operation Fast and Furious inadvertently armed the various warring factions across northern Mexico.
“Many weapons cross the border and enter Mexico, but that [Fast and Furious] number, quantity and type of weapons had quite an impact in the war in this area” Jose Wall, an ATF agent stationed in Tijuana from 2009 to 2011, told Univision News.
Interestingly, the Univision report went beyond the Phoenix, Arizona-based Operation Fast and Furious to discuss other “gun walking” projects, including Operation Castaway, which was based in Florida, and pushed guns into the hands of Colombian, Honduran, and Venezuelan gangs. An ATF operation running out of Texas was also discussed:
“When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels,” Hugh Crumpler, a Vietnam veteran turned arms trafficker, told Univision News. “The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time. They could not have followed me for two months like they said they did, and not know the guns were going somewhere, and not want for that to be happening.”
Other firearms under ATF surveillance were permitted to leave the country from Texas, according to court documents and the exclusive testimony of Magdalena Avila Villalobos, the sister of an ICE agent who survived a confrontation with cartel hit men on a rural highway in Mexico on February 15, 2011. His fellow agent, Jaime Zapata, was killed during the attacks.
“It’s not from Arizona and Fast and Furious,” Avila Villalobos told Univision News, speaking in her brother’s stead for the first time, “but it’s a very similar operation…” She later added, “Those weapons that have been recovered, it’s been confirmed that they were weapons used in the shootout that killed Jaime Zapata and wounded Victor Avila.”
But this is all no big deal, because Attorney General Eric Holder has no idea what anyone in the Justice Department is doing, and rarely bothers to read his email, and that’s totally fine with Barack Obama. He’s even invoked claims of executive privilege to protect Holder from further investigation by Congress. The media’s handling of all this has mirrored the way they’ve let Obama and his Administration off the hook for everything else, from the economy to foreign policy. In the eyes of the press, this Administration is a hall filled with empty chairs, in which no one is expected to take responsibility for anything.
But it’s not okay with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who have both called upon Holder to resign. Rep. Ryan repeated this call on Sunday – which also, as the Daily Caller notes, makes him the 131st House Republican to demand Holder’s resignation.