Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s family sue over Fast and Furious
Family’s lawsuit target federal prosecutor and ATF managers who were responsible for failed guns operation on Mexico border
guardian.co.uk, Friday 14 December 2012 23.31 GMT
Brian Terry was fatally shot north of the Arizona-Mexico border while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants in 2010.
The family of a murdered Border Patrol agent has sued federal officials over the botched Fast and Furious operation to track smuggled guns to Mexico.
Agent Brian Terry was mortally wounded on December 14, 2010, in a firefight north of the Arizona-Mexico border between US agents and five men who had sneaked into the country to rob marijuana smugglers.
Federal authorities conducting Fast and Furious have faced tough criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers for a smuggling ring to walk away from gun shops in Arizona with weapons, rather than arrest them and seize weapons.
The lawsuit filed Thursday and made publicly available on Friday came from Terry’s parents against six managers and investigators for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The family also sued a federal prosecutor who had previously handled the case but is no longer on it, and the owner of the gun store where two rifles found in the firefight’s aftermath were bought.
The family alleges that the ATF officials and federal prosecutor created a risk to law enforcement officers such as Terry and that the firearms agents should have known their actions would lead to injuries and deaths to civilians and police officers in America and Mexico.
The family also alleged that firearms agents and the prosecutor sought to cover up the link between Terry’s death and the botched gun smuggling investigation.
The "Fast and Furious" operation was launched in 2009 to catch trafficking kingpins, but agents lost track of about 1,400 of the more than 2,000 weapons involved.
Authorities say the ring was believed to have supplied the Sinaloa cartel with guns. Mexico’s drug cartels often seek out guns in the U.S. because gun laws in Mexico are more restrictive than in the U.S.
Some guns purchased by the ring were later found at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States.
The probe’s failures were revealed and later examined in congressional inquiries.
So far, 15 of the 20 people charged in the gun smuggling case have pleaded guilty to charges.
Authorities have a separate case pending in federal court in Tucson against five men charged with murder in Terry’s death.
So far, one man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Of the five men accused in Terry’s killing, two are in custody, and three others remain fugitives.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:38 am
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The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has filed a $25-million lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, claiming "negligence" and "a violation of ATF’s own policies and procedures" resulting in the death of their son.
A separate lawsuit against The Lone Wolf Trading Company stated that "but for defendants’ negligent and illegal sales … Brian Terry would not have been murdered."
Terry was killed when his unit was ambushed near the Arizona-Mexico border on the night of December 14, 2010. Two AK-47s found at the scene were part of an ATF gun-walking operation allowing the illegal purchase of weapons by straw buyers, who then sold them to a Mexican drug cartel.
Interviewed by Fox News in November, Terry’s mother expressed the general feeling of anyone now familiar with Fast and Furious.
If they never let the guns walk, maybe Brian would not have been out that day[.] … I just can’t believe our own government came up with a program like this that [let] innocent people get killed."
Attorney General Eric "My People" Holder, whose Department of Justice oversees the ATF, has claimed for over a year that he knew nothing about the logic-defying, deadly, and secretive program known as Fast and Furious. President Obama has shielded Holder from charges of perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy.
In October Obama stated that he has "complete confidence" in his Attorney General.
He has been very aggressive in going after gunrunning and cash transactions that are going to these transnational drug cartels in Mexico. He’s indicated he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious. Certainly I was not.
And I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through that could have been prevented by the United States of America.
Agent Terry’s family, Agent Zapata’s loved ones, the Mexican government, and the American people deserve the truth. Justice must be served. The family’s legal action gives us hope that the guilty will finally be held responsible. After all, no one is above the law.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:00 am
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