9/8/11, "Fast and Furious guns tied to second violent crime," LA Times, Richard A. Serrano
"In the second violent crime in this country connected with the ATF’s failed Fast and Furious program, two Arizona undercover police officers were allegedly assaulted last year when they attempted to stop two men in a stolen vehicle with two of the program's weapons in a confrontation south of Phoenix.
The officers, members of an elite Arizona Department of Public Safety law enforcement unit, said the driver rammed their cars and threatened them with the firearms, and then fled into the Arizona desert. The driver was caught and arrested, and two firearms –- a Beretta pistol and AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle --
- were found in the stolen Ford truck, the police said.
The suspect, Angel Hernandez-Diaz, 48, believed to be a Mexican national, was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, driving the stolen vehicle and illegal possession of the weapons. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial in Pinal County, Ariz., next month.
Also arrested in the incident was the passenger, Rosario Zavala, 30, of Mexico, who was charged with possession of narcotics and the stolen vehicle.
The encounter came five months after the Fast and Furious program began, in which ATF agents allowed the illegal purchase of weapons to try to track the firearms to Mexican drug cartels. And it occurred nine months before the fatal slaying in December of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, killed in a separate assault in which two Fast and Furious firearms were discovered at the scene south of Tucson....
About 2,000 weapons were allowed to be illegally purchased in the Phoenix area, and
- the vast majority
- were lost track of by ATF agents.
“There is bound to be a lot of them,” said one source close to case.
The new incident outside Phoenix, in the suburb of Maricopa, is the crime that the Justice Department alluded to last week in a report to congressional investigators reviewing Fast and Furious. They did not, however, provide any details. The Justice Department originally told Congress there were 11 sites in the U.S. with Fast and Furious guns, but last week revised the number to two identified so far.
Information about the crime surfaced Thursday after officials at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at Washington headquarters contacted Arizona law enforcement officials, and they agreed to discuss it.
The weapons found in the vehicle were the 9-millimeter Beretta, hidden under the front console, and the AK-47 in the back seat. Authorities in Arizona said they were told both weapons were illegally purchased under the Fast and Furious program that began in November 2009. Also in the truck were four boxes of ammunition for the AK-47, a box of 23 9-mm bullets for the Beretta, and four cases of Bud Light beer.
According to police reports, indictments and Officer Carrick Cook, the truck was stopped on the night of March 4, 2010, when the undercover unit realized the vehicle was stolen. Rather than exit, the driver revved the car and repeatedly rammed the two unmarked police vehicles.
Inside the truck, the driver removed the Beretta from his waistband, flashed it at the officers, and then bolted from the truck. He then turned in a crouched position as though he was pointing another weapon. At that point, Officer Mike Ruiz fired several times because “he felt his life was in danger and that of the other officer.”
Ruiz missed, and Hernandez-Diaz surrendered."
9/09/11, "Arizona Cops Threatened by Mexican Nationals With "Fast and Furious" Guns," John Hayward, Human Events
- "More guns walk back across the border into the U.S."
"The incident described above occurred on March 4, 2010, but we’re just now learning about the Fast and Furious connection. It took five months from the beginning of Fast and Furious for a couple of its weapons to make their way to the scene of a violent crime in an American city. Just imagine how many more of those high-powered chickens have come home to roost in the ensuing year and a half!
The initial violent crime, alluded to in the excerpt above, was the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two Fast and Furious AK-47s turned up at the scene. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona made a spirited attempt to cover it up… and now, a matter of days after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) began digging deep into the cover-up story, we learn about a guy ramming into Arizona undercover cops with a stolen truck full of Fast and Furious guns and narcotics.
As for the intrepid felons, Hernandez-Diaz and Zavala, I’m curious to know if their immigration status was determined, their connections to Mexican drug cartels, what they were doing in Phoenix, and what happened to them. The best information I could find was a Maricopa.com post from the time of the arrest, identifying them as “both residents of Mexico.” This report didn’t have any details about their guns, saying only that they were “booked into Pinal County Jail in Florence on multiple felony accounts.”
Update: Did I say two Fast and Furious guns were found at the Terry crime scene? Make that three. From a Fox News report:
A third gun linked to "Operation Fast and Furious" was found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, new documents obtained exclusively by Fox News suggest, contradicting earlier assertions by federal agencies that police found only two weapons tied to the federal government's now infamous gun interdiction scandal.
Sources say emails support their contention that the FBI concealed evidence to protect a confidential informant. Sources close to the Terry case say the FBI informant works inside a major Mexican cartel and provided the money to obtain the weapons used to kill Terry.
Unlike the two AK-style assault weapons found at the scene, the third weapon could more easily be linked to the informant.
- To prevent that from happening, sources say, the third gun "disappeared."
In addition to the emails obtained by Fox News, an audio recording from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent investigating the Terry case seems to confirm the existence of a third weapon. In that conversation, the agent refers to an "SKS assault rifle out of Texas"
- found at the Terry murder scene south of Tucson."
9/1/11, "GOP lawmakers: Coverup attempted in death of Border Patrol agent," USA Today, Melanie Eversley
"Emory Hurley, the lead prosecutor on the "Fast and Furious" program that allowed illegal guns on the streets, learned almost immediately that firearms involved in the program had been recovered at the scene, according to CBS.
In the hours after Terry died, Hurley "contemplated the connection between the two cases and sought to prevent the connection from being disclosed," CBS reports."...
- (Hurley has now been moved to a new job. ed.)
(continuing, USA Today): "Hurley could not be reached. The Justice Department had no comment.
AFT whistleblowers revealed the link to CBS and to the two lawmakers because their supervisors were attempting to cover it up, CBS reports."
9/1/11, "Operation Fast and Furious: The First Political Casualties," Hans von Spakovsky, They Foundry, Heritage blog
"Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley is also being transferred from the criminal division to the civil division, although the Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that it was at Hurley’s own request."...
via Weasel Zippers