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« Clarification | Main | Gun lobbyist ready to give up »

"Fast and Furious" Sentence Sparks Outrage

One-Month-Per-Gun Is Unprecedented

Plea Bargain Instead of Trial Stuns Public

Sentence Lighter Than Citizens Get for Paperwork Errors

Smuggler's Guns Involved in Agent Terry's Murder

Drug Lords Laughing at Us

"News" media ask no questions, see no problems

In early morning news that went unchallenged by the mainstream press, Jaime Avila Jr., 25, a ring leader caught red-handed in the Fast and Furious government gun-smuggling operation, was allowed on Wednesday to take a plea agreement with just over a month of punishment for each of 52 AK-47-type rifles he is known to have smuggled to drug lords. Two of Avila's smuggled guns were found at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Government officials who organized and abetted Avila's smuggling operation, and perpetrated the criminal scheme, have not been brought to justice or even charged in the crimes. Some have been promoted and given raises. Others have been transferred. Some have resigned, taken other high-profile positions in government, or moved into lucrative areas of the private sector. Critics have expressed doubts that officials will suffer any consequences from the criminal operations. If Wednesday's sentencing by Obama's Justice Department is any indication, they may be correct.

The AK-47 is a "commie gun," made in communist or former communist countries, like communist red China, Romania, Bulgaria, the former Soviet Union, and imported around the world, including to the United States. The notion that it "comes from" the U.S., constantly reported in news stories, is patently false, since this country, Mexico, and all others, are just way stations in the worldwide transit of these "commie guns," as they are known.

Former president Bill Clinton recently derided congressional Republicans for their concerns about communist activity, saying, "no one has seen a communist for more than a decade," and was cheered by democrats at the Obama fund raiser where the exciting but specious remark was made. The media failed to note the error.

Sometimes inaccurately referred to as "assault rifles," the AK-47 fires one shot at a time, the same as virtually all other consumer and sport-utility firearms. Assault, firearms-experts note, is a kind of behavior, not a kind of hardware. Mexican drug lords prefer the communist-design AK-47 over the U.S. standard military issue AR-15, providing economic stimulus to those countries.

Arizona Republic reporter Michael Keifer, in covering the local Fast and Furious story, made no mention of the fact that each count of straw purchase or gun smuggling carried out by Avila and his handlers carries a potential five-year federal felony sentence. He did not ask or find out why regular federal sentences were not handed down in this extraordinarily high-profile case. He instead referred to the single four-year nine-month plea deal as a 57-month, or less than five-year arrangement. It could have been 260 years.

The news media has been constantly chided, even ridiculed, for its soft handling of government malfeasance in this case, the worst of its kind in history. Mainstream-media spokespeople categorically reject such charges.

Fast and Furious was used by the Obama administration to insist that U.S. gun laws are inadequate, and to call for more laws to control the public, until it was exposed as a government-run gun-smuggling program. Indeed, new consumer gun laws were implemented by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives bureaucracy "demand letter," without an act of Congress, forcing four border states to create a gun registry. That registry is specifically banned by federal law (18 U.S.C. §926, 1986). Why Avila was given a plea deal for less than the penalty of a single smuggling charge was unreported, and remains unexplained.

Along with illegally buying 52 rifles, perjuring himself on the paperwork (a separate offense), transferring the firearms to the real purchasers (a separate offense), who could not buy the guns themselves (a separate offense) he solicited others to participate in the scheme (a separate offense), which Keifer's report indicated was an aggravating circumstance, but which apparently did not enhance the charges or penalties meted out.

The fact that two of the guns were found at the scene of the Terry murder apparently did not warrant any additional charges, or deter the government from giving the smuggler an easy plea deal. Why the entire force of the Obama Justice Department was not brought to bear in a trial was unknown.

According to sources who wish to remain anonymous, a trial would have exposed facts about the case that government perpetrators of the Fast and Furious scheme want to remain secret.

Avila's attorney, Candice Shoemaker, was not reached for comment.

One week earlier, on Dec. 5, another criminal in the operation was also given an extremely light sentence in a plea agreement, but that story only received a three-inch blurb instead of a headline in the state newspaper, for reasons that were unexplained at press time. Julio Jose Carrillo got a 46-month sentence, or three years and 10 months, for smuggling 41 guns, and committing the same five-year federal felonies with his handlers as Avila did, as part of the same BATFE government-run gun smuggling operation. All the questions in the Avila case are present in the anomalies in the Carrillo plea deal.

According to sources who wish to remain anonymous, a trial would have exposed facts about Carillo's case that government perpetrators of the scheme want to remain secret. His attorney's name was not released in the Associated Press "news" report, but could likely be found in court records if the reporter, who was unnamed in the story, cared to look.

The smuggled guns led to repeated public speeches by Mexican president Calderon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, calling for new laws to control the public and limit the right to keep and bear arms. The smuggled guns, they claimed, were proof of an "iron river," fueling the Mexican drug war. (The failed multi-billion-dollar  decades-long government-run war on some drugs was not part of that narrative.) That iron-river claim ended when the gun-running scheme blew up, and it was revealed that the guns were actually smuggled by the U.S. Justice Dept.

Sources close to the investigation have suspected since the beginning, that a scheme of this magnitude, and the repeated public speeches it generated, were planned at the highest levels of government, to create political capital needed to implement new gun laws. Resistance to new anti-rights gun laws has been great in Congress for many years.

To date, no evidence has been brought forth to confirm such suspicions. With trials now impossible for these two low-level smuggling operatives, due to the protection they now enjoy thanks to constitutional rules against double-jeopardy trials, such evidence may never materialize.

Permission to circulate this report is granted.


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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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