Pinal Cty. sheriff weighs in on Fast and Furious on anniversary of agent's death

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on December 15, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 15 at 9:01 AM

PHOENIX -- It's been a year since Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in a shootout with Mexican smugglers in Southern Arizona.

The gun that killed Terry was later tied to the failed Operation Fast and Furious, which was supposed to slow the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico. The idea was to allow straw buyers to complete their purchases and send weapons to Mexico so authorities could follow the trail to the Mexican criminal organizations that were ultimately buying the guns. Operation Fast and Furious was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The operation ended shortly after Terry's death and has been the center of controversy since. It's also been the subject of a Congressional investigation, with many calling for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, who admitted in testimony before a Congressional committee that Fast and Furious was "flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution."

"Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian's murder," the Terry family in a statement release Wednesday. "We will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable."

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who knew Terry well, agrees and says the buck stops with Holder.

"What all of us in law enforcement and us as citizens here in the state of Arizona feel betrayed in the fact that these guns ended up not just left on the streets of Phoenix, but facilitated into the hands of the most violent criminal in North America -- the drug cartels -- ended up murdering this hero in our state.

"We still don't have answers today," Babeu continued. "Nobody has been held accountable. Nobody has accepted responsibility in the Department of Justice, where this program was really hatched."

Babeu believes Holder perjured himself and should either be fired or resign.

"At the very least he should have apologized publicly," Babeu said. "He didn't even have the honor to do that."

Babeu pointed out that many others have been killed by the weapons that were allowed into Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. He wants justice for them, as well as for Terry.

"Brian swore and oath to protect and defend our Constitution and protect America. We owe him justice," Babeu said.

 
 

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