The fate of 'Operation Fast and Furious'

“The Fate of the Furious” movie is the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” film franchise.

This successful concession is now on its eighth episode. Sadly, it is fast approaching nearly eight years since the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and the commencement of unavailing investigations into the illegal and ill-advised Fast and Furious weapons-running operation — an operation orchestrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE). 

A letter dated April 10, 2017 by Rep, Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R, UT), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGR), which was addressed to Mr. Ronald B. Turk, Associate Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the ATFE, hopefully portends decisive action on the part of HOGR to finally demand and secure both facts and accountability.


A Facebook posting on April 11, 2017 by retired ATFE Special Agent Jay Dobyns further provides hope justice will be delivered: “[Thomas E.] Brandon [ATF Acting Director] and [Ronald B.] Turk and their pathetic leadership have them in a bad spot, not just regarding me, but much more importantly, regarding the murders of Brian Terry and Jaimie Zapata with ATF-trafficked firearms.



Because they [Brandon and Turk] were served-up termination proposals for the corrupt executives and… wait for it … they could have done their jobs but instead gave all the criminals free passes…” 

Further, there were indications and overtures several weeks prior that those who repeatedly received the weapons illegally trafficked by ATFE may be willing to provide information and assistance that could be of use to HOGR, such as names, date, locations, etc.

Considering the announcement on April 12, 2017 concerning the arrest of Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, the alleged trigger-puller in the murder of agent Brian Terry, it is not surprising those who allegedly were illuded by some in the U.S. government have tentatively offered their facilitation.

This could, perhaps, reveal the “criminals” in the ATFE and other government agencies that Jay Dobyns alluded to.  At least one suspect ATFE agent’s name was provided to a Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Special Agent in the Tucson area the latter part of last year. Key members of HOGR have been made aware of this – as has a preeminent investigative journalist.

This information could be compared to other material HOGR has in order to determine both veracity and efficacy.  

As both a reminder and indication of the people allegedly in an agreement with the U.S. government and who are now indicating they might be willing to provide information for use by HOGR:  As reported in numerous media outlets previously, the son of a heavy hitter in a powerful Mexican drug trafficking organization had filed explosive legal pleadings in federal court in Chicago accusing the US government of cutting a deal with the “Sinaloa Cartel” that gave its leadership “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States.”

The source of that allegation is Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, one of the purported top leaders of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization — a major Mexican-based importer of weapons and exporter of drugs. 

Zambada-Niebla, himself a key player in the Sinaloa organization, was arrested in Mexico City in March 2009 and in February 2010 extradited to the United States to stand trial on narco-trafficking-related charges.  Zambada-Niebla also claimed to be an asset of the US government. 

His allegation was laid out originally in a two-page court pleading filed in late March with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. The allegations advanced by Zambada-Niebla were laid out in motions filed in federal court. 

Those pleadings spelled out the supposed cooperative relationship between the US Department of Justice and its various agencies, including DEA and the FBI, and the leaders of the “Sinaloa Cartel” — including Zambada-Niebla. That alleged relationship was cultivated through a Mexican attorney, Humberto Loya-Castro, whom Zambada- Niebla claims is a Sinaloa Cartel member and “a close confidante of Joaquin Guzman Loera (Chapo).”

The protection extended to the Sinaloa leadership, according to the court filings, included being “informed by agents of the DEA through Loya that United States government agents and/or Mexican authorities were conducting investigations near the home territories of cartel leaders so that the cartel leaders could take appropriate actions to evade investigators.”

In addition, the pleadings alleged, the US government agreed not to “share any of the information they had about the Sinaloa Cartel and/or the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel with the Mexican government in order to better assure that they would not be apprehended and so that their operations would not be interfered with.” Zambada-Niedla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator,” also made startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.

It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels. Based on the alleged agreement  ”the Sinaloa Cartel under the leadership of defendant’s father, Ismael Zambada-Niebla and ‘Chapo’ Guzman, were given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States and were also protected by the United States government from arrest and prosecution in return for providing information against rival cartels which helped Mexican and United States authorities capture or kill thousands of rival cartel members,” stated a motion for discovery filed in U.S. District Court by Zambada-Niebla’s attorney in July 2011.

According to Zambada-Niebla, Fast and Furious was a product of the collusion between the U.S. government and the Sinaloa Cartel. The claims seem to fall in line with statements made by Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state government in northern Mexico, who said U.S. agencies “don’t fight drug traffickers,” instead “they try to manage the drug trade.”

The Terry family, sanguine about both the increasingly assertive actions on the part of Rep. Chaffetz and the recent arrest made concerning the murder of Brian Terry, does muse as to why Rep. Chaffetz has yet to sign subpoena(s) for documents relative to "Operation Fast and Furious."

Hopefully the combination of a gladiatorial Rep. Chaffetz and the promise made to the Terry family by then-candidate Trump in March of 2016 will result in answers, facts, truth, accountability and justice.

One thing is certain: HOGR should soon question Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes about whom he might have been working with in the U.S. government and/or was an informant for before he, like Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, seemingly evanishes.

Matthew Smith-Meck is a retired Marine and an "Operation Fast and Furious" whistleblower. 

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.