Justice for Jaime.
The House Oversight Committee held a hearing today over the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report that showed the ATF missed numerous opportunities to arrest the two men linked to the guns used to murder ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in February 2011.
However, Ronald Turk, ATF associate deputy director and chief operating officer, and William Temple, ATF’s special agent in charge of the Dallas Field Division, refused to show up and testify. This left Chairman Jason Chaffetz fuming.
From The Daily Caller:
ATF Acting Director Thomas Brandon told the hearing the two men skipped “voluntarily,” but he agreed with their decision.
“There is no excuse for that, and we will not tolerate that,” Chaffetz said, signing the subpoenas in the middle of the hearing. Appearing before Congress is “not optional,” he said.
The Zapata family has been waiting six years to receive answers into Jaime’s death.
The ATF identified Otillo Osorio and Robert Riendfliesh as running around 40 firearms in November 2010, but the IG found that no one within the agency did anything to stop them.
The IG did not describe the steps agents should have taken, but the investigators “believe that there clearly was probable cause to arrest both Osorio brothers and Morrison after ATF witnessed the Osorios complete a transfer of 40 firearms on November 9, 2010.”
The notorious Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas used some of those guns to murder Jaime and injure his partner Victor Avila just 200 miles north of Mexico City in February 2011.
Jaime’s murder came after Operation Fast and Furious thrust the ATF and DOJ into the spotlight. Cartel members used guns from that gun running scheme to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
From The Washington Times:
Zapata’s parents and Mr. Avila have sued the federal government, ATF agents and ICE supervisors over the attack. In the pending lawsuit, they allege negligence by ICE supervisors who sent the men on a risky trip through a region that the U.S. Embassy in Mexico had warned people to avoid. They also blame ATF agents who supervised the Fast and Furious gun-running operation for developing “high-risk tactics [including allowing firearms dealers to sell to straw buyers] … that made these tragic consequences inevitable.”
Magdalena Villalobos, the lawyer representing Mr. Avila in the case, said Wednesday that she was reviewing the inspector general’s report for any new information that might support her client’s claims. Given the in-depth investigations already conducted by the legal team, she said, she wasn’t anticipating any bombshells but hoped the findings could provide momentum in the case.