Univision report connects Operation Fast and Furious scandal to murders of Mexican teenagers
The Spanish language television news network Univision unleashed a bombshell investigative report on Operation Fast and Furious Sunday evening, finding that in January 2010 drug cartel hit men slaughtered students with weapons the United States government allowed to flow to them across the Mexican border.
“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,” according to a version of the Univision report in English, on the ABC News website.
“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.”
Citing a Mexican Army document it obtained and published, Univision reported that “[t]hree of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”
That operation was Fast and Furious.
The “massacre,” as Univision described it, was not the only bombshell the network unveiled in its Sunday evening report.
“Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre,” the Univision report reads.
The network also uncovered another Fast and Furious weapons “massacre.” On September 2, 2009, 18 young men were killed at “El Aliviane, a rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez,” according to the report.
Univision found many of these victims through “access to the list of serial numbers for weapons used in Fast and Furious” and the “list of guns seized in Mexico,” according to English subtitles on the Spanish-language video.
“After cross-referencing them both lists, it became clear that a least a hundred of them were used in crimes of all kinds,” the subtitles read. “We found 57 weapons that were not mentioned in [the U.S.] Congress’ investigation.”
Though Univision tracked many more victims down, it said that “the death toll that this free flow of weapons authorized by ATF had in Mexico has not been tallied.”
Univision held nothing back in its broadcast, airing images and video of bloodied, dead bodies. The network showed the faces of the dead and walked viewers through how cartel operatives hunted their victims down with the weapons President Barack Obama’s administration allowed straw buyers to traffick to them.
One photo, for instance, showed pools of blood in the streets of a Mexican town after a “massacre” committed by murderers armed with Fast and Furious weapons. Video footage showed where some of the victims were killed and how the cartels chased their helpless victims to their deaths.
The Univision broadcast implicitly suggested that Americans have no regard for the victims of violence American policy helps fuel — that is, until one of those victims ends up being an American.
It wasn’t until U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder prompted whistle-blowers to come forward to Congress to publicly voice concerns about ]he program that the Obama administration stopped allowing firearms to flow into Mexico.
One victim’s father, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, told Univision he thinks “Americans are not often moved by the pain of those outside [their country].”
“But they are moved by the pain of their own,” Sicilia added.
“Well, turn around and watch the massacres.”
Univision says the Obama administration’s actions “inadvertently” helped fuel violence and a war between the cartels.
“In Mexico, the timing of the operation coincided with an upsurge of violence in the war among the country’s strongest cartels,” according to Univision.
“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.”
An English-subtitled translation of one expert’s comments indicated that the weapons the Obama administration allowed to flow to the cartels through Fast and Furious were “capable of not only penetrating an armored vehicle but also a whole house from wall to wall.”
According to the Univision report, it wasn’t weak gun laws that made Fast and Furious possible, as some liberal commentators have suggested.
“If up to this point drug dealers could easily obtain and smuggle guns, the United States government made it easier,” English subtitles on one part of the report read.
“When Fast and Furious began in 2009, the ATF and Arizona prosecutors told [gun] store owners to sell weapons without restrictions to suspicious buyers.”
Univision also said that it was Phoenix ATF office leader Bill Newell who ultimately concluded that “the only way to track the guns was to wait for weapons to be recovered in crime scenes in Mexico.”
That charge, if true, would mean the Obama administration decided to allow cartel operatives to kill and injure people with the weapons it gave them, and to recover the guns only after criminals ditched them at brutal — often deadly — crime scenes.
Univision also found additional details about other gunwalking operations the Obama administration undertook.
“In Florida, the weapons from Operation Castaway ended up in the hands of criminals in Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela, the lead informant in the case told Univision News in a prison interview,” the network reported. The informant Unvision interviewed was “Vietnam veteran-turned-arms-trafficker” Hugh Crumpler.
“When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels,” Crumpler said. “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.”