The suspected gunman who allegedly pulled the trigger on U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010, leading to the exposure of an Obama administration scandal called Operation Fast and Furious, has been arrested in Mexico, according to Fox News.
The story broke Wednesday under the byline of veteran reporter William Lajeunesse, one of a handful of journalists who doggedly pursued the scandal over the course of several years.
Now in jail is Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, an alleged drug cartel member who is suspected of firing the shot that killed Terry during an operation in southern Arizona. The gun he allegedly used was one of two recovered at the scene that were traced back to Fast and Furious, a mismanaged gun running sting mounted by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the Obama administration. The new development is also being reported in The Hill.
The operation allowed some 2,000 guns to be “walked” across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Guns connected to the operation have continued to turn up at crime scenes. Many in the firearms community believed the operation was launched as an effort to discredit gun dealers and allow the administration to push for more restrictive gun control measures.
In what many believe was a politically-motivated move to exploit the debacle, the Obama administration instituted additional reporting requirements for firearms dealers in four states, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. This created the impression that gun dealers were somehow responsible for the “gun walking” scandal, according to many critics. But dealers directly involved had been working with ATF agents, and e-mails recovered during an investigation of the operation showed at least one retailer who expressed grave concerns about the operation.
While the story was reported, and given national attention by then-CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s interview of an ATF whistleblower who helped expose the scandal, the dominant mainstream media largely ignored it. Many in the firearms community believe the reason was so that the Obama administration would not be tarnished by a scandal that resulted in the death of an American law enforcement officer, and untold numbers of Mexican citizens.
The scandal was initially uncovered by two online writers, David Codrea, writing at the time for Examiner.com, and the late “citizen journalist” Mike Vanderboegh, who died last year. Both Codrea and Attkisson earned awards for their work on the story.
Fast and Furious became the subject of congressional hearings before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. During one of those sessions, an ATF agent dubbed the operation a “perfect storm of idiocy.” The scandal resulted in the resignation of former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, the Arizona Republic recalled.
Initially, Capitol Hill involvement started in the office of Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and ultimately led to the House investigation under California Congressman Darrell Issa, then chair of the Oversight Committee. Issa and fellow Republicans on the committee pushed the Justice Department and then-Attorney General Eric Holder for thousands of documents. When Holder refused to turn over some of those documents, former President Barack Obama extended executive privilege, but that was eventually overturned by a federal court.
Holder became the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress, in 2012, and he eventually stepped down, to be replaced by Loretta Lynch.
According to Fox News, Osorio-Arellanes was nabbed “by a joint U.S.-Mexico law enforcement task force that included the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals and the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC).”
At least one book was written about Fast and Furious, and images of Terry have been widely circulated on social media in the six-plus years since his death. A Border patrol station was named after him.
Liberty Park Press has reached out to Issa for a reaction to this latest development.