ATF Agent Caught and Released Gun Smuggler During Fast and Furious
Documents obtained by the LA Times yesterday provided more evidence that agents in charge of the Phoenix gun walking operation known as Fast and Furious have the blood of hundreds of victims on their hands.
The latest proof Special Agent Hope MacAllister, her supervisor David Voth and Special Agent in Charge William Newell helped to arm deadly drug cartels surfaced in the Times article detailing gun smuggler Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta's May 2010 capture and subsequent same-day release by agent MacAllister. He wasn't recaptured until February 2011, a "month after Fast and Furious closed down."
During his first encounter, border patrol agents stopped Celis-Acosta while driving his BMW in a remote area of Arizona near the Mexican border; they found 74 rounds of ammunition and nine cellphones in the car. Celis-Acosta admitted under questioning he was on his way to a birthday party of a close associate "Chendi" whom he described as "a Mexican cartel member and "right-hand man" to Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel."
From the Times:
According to an ATF "Report of Investigation," prepared by MacAllister, authorized by her supervisor, David J. Voth, and reviewed by William D. Newell, then the ATF special agent in charge in Arizona, U.S. authorities stopped Celis-Acosta as he headed south through the border town of Lukeville, Ariz.
Celis-Acosta said Chendi moved 6,000 pounds of marijuana a week into the U.S., terrorized Mexican police, wore a $15,000 wristwatch and lived in a home with "a lot of gold" inside and a landing strip outside.
MacAllister checked with the Drug Enforcement Administration and learned Chendi - real name Claudio Jamie Badilla - was a "large-scale marijuana and multi-kilogram cocaine trafficker."
MacAllister asked Celis-Acosta whether he "would be willing to cooperate." When he said yes, they confiscated the ammunition and let him go.
The top Fast and Furious investigator, Special Agent Hope MacAllister, scribbled her phone number on a $10 bill after he pledged to cooperate and keep in touch with investigators.
Then Celis-Acosta disappeared into Mexico. He never called.
According to a July 26, 2011 joint staff report prepared for Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley, ATF leadership in Arizona assured ATF officials in Mexico Operation Fast and Furious would be shut down as early as March 2010, three months before MacAllister let a known gun smuggler go free.
If higher-ups intended to stop the deadly program they had a strange way of going about it.
Incredibly, MacAllister not only asked a cartel-connected gun runner to give her a ring some time, nine months later in a secretly recorded conversation with the owner of the Lone Wolf Trading Company, she bantered with him about several related issues: the December 14, 2010 murder of Brian Terry; the lack of interest by the "majority party" in the Senate regarding Fast and Furious; and her desire to "investigate" Senator Grassley.
That's kind of what my suggestion but nobody thought that was funny like if I were a P.I. I'd put him on Grassley, I'm sure there's a lot would go away.
The people in charge of Fast and Furious like MacAllister knew it was a nightmare from day one. In the Lone Wolf recording she talked about counting on the Democratic Party as well as the office of the Attorney General, which she also mentioned in the tape, to cover for those involved.
No wonder Hope MacAllister, David Voth and William Newell aren't facing any criminal charges.
In a 2011 congressional hearing ATF agents repeatedly alleged all three ignored warnings that a federal agent could get killed as a result of the strategy allowing thousands of weapons to be sold to gun traffickers like Celis-Acosta. The question is why were MacAllister, Newell and Voth too comfortable with an insane operation resulting in the murders of so many people?
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report