Thursday, October 6, 2011

Investigations Intensify for Operation "Wide Reciever", the 2006 Predecessor to "Fast and Furious"

The Examiner
Luke Witman

Southern Arizona arms dealers accused
to knowingly selling weapons to
Mexican gun smugglers.
With the dust still far from settled on the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives’ failed Mexican arms smuggling sting Operation Fast and Furious, the Justice Department is intensifying its investigation into a similar ATF-led operation that took place in Tucson in 2006. Dubbed Operation Wide Receiver, in this precursor to Fast and Furious, agents allegedly allowed guns to pass from Southern Arizona arms dealers and into the hands of Mexican criminals, in a larger attempt to get to the leaders of the drug cartels.

The Justice Department investigation into Operation Wide Receiver began in 2006, when a local resident tipped off authorities that Tucson gun dealer Michael Detty was supplying guns to Mexican criminals. However, it was not until May of 2010 that an indictment was issued against Detty and his business Mad Dawg Global Marketing. The indictment alleges that Detty sold 269 weapons to criminals in Sonora, only 47 of which were eventually seized by ATF officials. This means that at least 222 firearms potentially reached the hands of cartel members.

In an interview with CBS’ The Early Show, Wednesday Oct. 5, Detty claims that he was working as an undercover informant for the very people who are now responsible for indicting him. He argues that, after receiving a very large order for semiautomatic rifles from a young Latino man at a Tucson gun show, he reported the suspicious transaction to the ATF, who then urged him to continue selling guns to this individual, so that U.S. officials could trace them. Detty said that he had no idea that ATF authorities were allowing the weapons to slip across the border and into the cartels, and it makes him sick to know how he was used.

Detty is not the only person involved in Operation Wide Receiver to have been indicted for his actions. Along with him, eight other Tucson residents were charged last year with supplying weapons to gun smugglers. Two have already pled guilty, while two others are expected to enter pleas next Wednesday. The remaining five have cases that are still pending.

An attorney for one of those charged, Ricardo Mendez Jr., is arguing that the case against his client should be dropped, since it has taken four years for the Justice Department to come up with his indictment. Indeed it does seem strange to many that the indictments against arms dealers involved in Wide Receiver did not come until the existence of Operation Fast and Furious came to light. With members of Congress as well as members of the public anxious for someone to take responsibility for the failures of recent gunrunning stings, it seems overly convenient to some that the dealers are being brought to justice, while nobody from the ATF has yet to take responsibility for the agency’s misdeeds.

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1 comment:

  1. Good, relevant reporting. Time will span an almost unbelievable history of Bush41 and the S&Bs engaging in the most diabolical trade with Mexican drug producers since the 1950s. Seeing the photo of Bush's Operation 40 assassination team in the Mexican nightclub including some of the drug trafficers working under U.S. government immunity is a wake-up call.
    If the internet was around then, t'would be a different story. This is why they want it banned. Watch the roaches scatter and get moving.