Fast and Furious: Cartel Guns Purchased With Taxpayer Money


Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama Administration’s bizarre effort to arm murderous Mexican drug cartels with American guns, generally worked like this: a “straw buyer” would turn up at a gun shop that was part of the Fast and Furious program.  Background checks would be bypassed in order to allow the straw buyer to pick up guns.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was then supposed to follow the guns as the straw buyer delivered them to his cartel customers.  There was never a plausible system in place for tracking the 2,000 weapons involved in the program, many of which remain unaccounted for… and some of which have begun turning up at American crime scenes.

Now David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner has uncovered a bombshell letter that changes the rules of the Fast and Furious game.  In the letter, “forwarded on Friday by a proven reliable source,” ATF supervisor David Voth instructs a “federal firearms licensee” (i.e. gun dealer) to sell four pistols directly to an ATF agent, rather than a straw buyer:

Per Section925(a)(1) of the Gun Control Act (GCA) exempts law enforcement agencies from the transportation, shipment, receipt, or importation controls of the GCA when firearms are to be used for the official business of the agency.

Please accept this letter in lieu of completing an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of four (4) CAI, Model Draco, 7.62×39 mm pistols, by Special Agent John Dodson. These aforementioned pistols will be used by Special Agent Dodson in furtherance of the performance of his official duties. In addition, Special Agent Dodson has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. If you have any questions, you may contact me at telephone number 602-605-6501.

You can follow this link to see an image of the letter provided by Codrea.  Scribbled on the letter is a handwritten note that says, “Picked up guns 6/10/10.  Paid cash.”  The letter itself is dated June 1, 2010.

Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars, who worked with Codrea on the story, puts this revelation into context:

The existence of this letter provided to these reporters by a previously reliable source familiar with the Fast and Furious investigation, coupled with interviews of other sources across the country which put it into context, provides startling proof that the Federal government did not merely “lose track” of weapons purchased by “straw buyers” under surveillance by the ATF and destined for the Mexican drug cartels.

In an undercover operation ordered by Fast and Furious supervisor David Voth, the U.S. government purchased firearms with taxpayer money from licensed firearms dealers, instructed them to conduct the sales “off the books,” and used an ATF agent, John Dodson, to deliver them directly to people that Dodson believed were conducting them across the border.

(Emphases mine.)  Vanderboegh goes on to note that ATF agent Dodson must have been working undercover as a straw buyer, and wanted this letter as insurance, in case his superiors were tempted to throw him under the bus.  Another source pointed out to Vaderboegh that Agent Dodson was already a whistleblower by June 2010, and his undercover straw-buyer assignment might have been an attempt to “dirty him up.”  Dodson didn’t take this very well:

Subsequent to this undercover weapons buying and transfer to cartel smugglers by Dodson, say the sources, “Dodson just about came apart all over them (his supervisors).” In a “screaming match” that was heard throughout the Phoenix office by many employees, Dodson yelled at Voth and Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett, “Why not just go direct and empty out the (ATF) arms room?” (to the cartels), or words to that effect.

After this confrontation, say the sources, ATF managers transferred Dodson to a post as “liaison to the intel guys at FBI” in the Phoenix office. For clarification, it is worth noting that the Brian Terry murder investigation was at this time being carried out by the criminal investigations side of the FBI out of the Tuscon office, not Phoenix. 

Sources describe continuing harassment of Dodson as his access to the Phoenix office building was restricted. “They removed him from the (Fast and Furious) case as politically unreliable,” said another source, adding, “And of course after the Terry murder all the shots were being called by D.C.”

Codrea and Vanderboegh believe the Voth letter, and a similar letter authorizing the purchase of two more pistols by Dodson, has long been in the possession of Fast and Furious investigators, including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA).  The reporters nevertheless sent fresh copies of the letters and asked for comment.

Another whistleblower agent, Vince Cefalu, once remarked that “the only way to track the [Fast and Furious] guns would be with crime scenes and dead bodies.”  Does that observation hold true for the guns directly supplied to the cartels by ATF agents working undercover as straw buyers?