Nadir Soofi, one of two Muslim terrorist killed attempting to slaughter attendees of a “Draw Mohammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, in May, had previously legally purchased a handgun from a gun shop that he should not have been able to buy.
Soofi, with a record of drug and assault charges, was originally flagged when he applied to purchase the gun, but was quickly allowed to buy the weapon in February of 2010. He purchased the 9-millimeter from Lone Wolf Trading Co., a central participant in President Barack Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” program.
Fast and Furious was supposed to mirror Operation Gunwalker, a program under President George W. Bush’s administration that allowed the sale of guns to Mexican drug cartels and, in coordination with the Mexican government, tracked the weapons to discover smuggling rings. The weapons were recovered under Operation Gunrunner, but under Fast and Furious, the Obama administration did not coordinate with the Mexican government, nor was it able to track the guns.
The Obama administration lost track of an estimated 1,400 guns in Fast and Furious.
At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi’s history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.
Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers.
What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.
Instead, federal agents lost track of the weapons and the operation became a fiasco, particularly after several of the missing guns were linked to shootings in Mexico and the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona.
Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.
It is currently unknown where the gun Soofi bought in 2010 is, or if the guns he and Elton Simpson, his roommate and accomplice in the attempted attack in Garland, were also part of Fast and Furious.
Officials at the Justice Department and the FBI declined to answer questions about whether the 9-millimeter pistol was one of the guns used in the Garland attack or seized at Soofi’s apartment.
Both Soofi and Simpson were killed by police outside the Garland event, only wounding a security guard in the process.