Washington, DC | WARNING: Graphic Content – Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in September he was resigning, putting an end to what has been a controversial tenure, told Congress that guns illegally supplied to drug cartels as part of the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious gun-running scandal would continue to show up at crime scenes “for years to come.”
Unfortunately, Holder was right.
Newly released images and previously discovered documents show a 2013 gang-style assault in Phoenix, AZ, was perpetrated by assailants armed with AK-47s traced to Fast and Furious.
The government watchdog group Judicial Watch released graphic crime scene photos taken at the site of a 2013 gang-style assault on a Phoenix, AZ, apartment building, including a close-up image clearly depicting the serial number of the AK-47 rifle used by the assailants.
“Another Obama administration Fast and Furious cover-up has been undone by Judicial Watch. These crime scene photos graphically illustrate the legacy of President Obama and Eric Holder’s deadly Fast and Furious lies,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Even as the evidence and casualties mount, the Obama administration is still secreting information about its reckless program. These photos show the American people firsthand the bloody consequences when an out-of-control administration will not even admit – or correct – its own mistakes.”
The images were obtained as a result of a October 2, 2014, public records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, but the AK-47 assault weapon has already been traced to the Obama administration’s gun-running scheme, Operation Fast and Furious, which was carried out by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under AG Holder. The photos were also provided by the Phoenix Police Department in response to Judicial Watch v. City of Phoenix (No. CV2014- 012018) lawsuit.
Police investigating the 2013 shooting that resulted in two wounded found an AK-47 assault rifle in the front passenger area of the suspect’s vehicle, which had crashed into a fence surrounding the apartment complex. Documents unveiled on October 16, 2014, through Judicial Watch’s October 2 lawsuit, confirmed congressional investigators had discovered the weapon’s serial number was tied to the Fast and Furious gun-running operation.
In an October 16 letter to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) confirm the discovery:
Based on the serial number [1977DX1654] from the police report obtained by Judicial Watch and documents obtained during our Fast and Furious investigation, we can confirm that the assault rifle recovered in the vehicle on July 30, 2013, was purchased by Sean Christopher Stewart. Stewart pled guilty to firearms trafficking charges resulting from his involvement with Operation Fast and Furious … Stewart purchased this particular firearm on December 8, 2009, one of 40 that he purchased that day while under ATF surveillance. [Emphasis in original]
Further, a report obtained by the Phoenix Police Department confirms the Justice Department/ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) (ATF) traced the firearm on July 31, 2013, just one day after Phoenix police officers recovered it.
“Yet, over a full year has passed, and the Department has failed to notify the Committees,” the letter further stated. “This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”
On June 28, 2012, Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over documents widely thought to prove he and other administration officials lied to Congress, marking the first time in U.S. history a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.
Holder’s resignation came just one month after the first federal judge — U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama — ruled he could no longer hide behind Obama’s executive privilege as a way to withhold documents long-sought by Congress. The administration again lost another ruling when a second court agreed with Judge Berman just two short days before Holder’s announcement.
“The disgraced Holder’s exit is past due accountability for Holder’s Fast and Furious lies, and I hope it brings some solace to the family of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the hundreds of innocent Mexicans likely killed thanks to the Holder Justice Department’s scheme that armed the murderous Mexican drug cartels,” Mr. Fitton said in a statement regarding the resignation.
The documents and images show the City of Phoenix also failed to turn over the damning photos to congressional investigators, who made multiple requests for such information. According to sources who spoke to Judicial Watch, investigators knew at the scene and during the requests that the AK-47 traced to Fast and Furious and, worse, know it is likely not the only one.
Three weeks after the assault on July 29, 2013, Phoenix police detectives and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) apprehended four suspects in a joint raid. Local press reports claimed “numerous rifles and handguns” were found when, “Detectives from the Phoenix Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations served federal search warrants” (H/T Judicial Watch).
The presence of DHS investigators immediately raised questions because Phoenix was the central location of the ATF’s deadly Fast and Furious gunrunning operation. Operation Fast and Furious was a Justice Department/ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) program in which the Obama administration allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels
The newly released images from the violent shooting in Phoenix — which consequently, was the location of primary ATF office where Fast and Furious was conducted — represent the latest violent crime resulting from the Obama administration’s gun-running policy, a scheme to arm Mexican drug cartels in the hopes that the guns would end up at crime scenes, thereby advancing left-wing gun-control policies. Sadly, the guns have been traced to the murders of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry (Dec. 2010), Special Agent Jamie Zapata (Feb. 2011) and hundreds of Mexican nationals.
While the case of Brian Terry received a relatively small amount of coverage from national media, the tragic case of Mr. Zapata is less known.
On February 15, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata was ruthlessly gunned down in the line of duty when his vehicle was ambushed by suspected members of a Mexican drug cartel. Leaked documents show that one of the guns found at Zapata’s murder scene was supplied by convicted gun-runner Manuel Barba, an ATF customer named in Fast and Furious records.
Barba had been under ATF surveillance for six months before one of the guns he illegally supplied to Mexican drug lords was used to murder Special Agent Zapata.