Earlier today, I had the privilege of sitting down with National Sheriff of the Year Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to discuss his reaction to Operation Fast and Furious and his ongoing fight against ruthless drug cartels. After our conversation, it became clear the Obama Administration is fighting him with lawsuits and by arming the very cartels he and his deputies are trying to combat in the Arizona desert.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is fighting what he describes as the most ruthless criminals in North America, on American soil in Southern Arizona. In his county, cartels use look-out posts, or “spotters,” to detect and move around law enforcement, and shootouts with cartels members are a normal occurrence.
“We still have these look-out posts, intelligence gathering locations where they sit on top of a mountain or in a cave. At least 100 of them just in one smuggling route throughout our county and we have multiple routes,” Babeu said. “How have we arrived to this point where this has become okay from the federal government’s perspective?”
These spotters are working for ruthless, violent criminals who are armed to the teeth with AK-47s and .50 caliber sniper rifles, partially thanks to the Obama Justice Department and its Operation Fast and Furious. These cartels have destabilized Mexico and 42,000 people have been murdered since 2006, with 22,000 of those murders happening in the past 18-months. It is quite the coincidence that at least half of the murders in Mexico came at the same time Operation Fast and Furious was being implemented and carried out. But this is just the beginning. Years from now, our law enforcement officers and innocent citizens will face the barrels of guns put into the hands of the most vicious criminals in North America—by our own government.
“It’s not going to end, there are at least 1500 guns out there and we have no clue where they are,” Babeu said.
While Sheriff Babeu and his deputies are doing their best to fight these cartels with limited resources, the Obama Justice Department has been arming the enemy with weapons Babeu’s deputies don’t even have.
“Outrage and betrayal. This has never happened before in the history of our country. We may have given armaments and weapons to our allies who may have later become our enemy, but we’ve never given them directly to our enemy,” Babeu said when asked about his initial reaction to Operation Fast and Furious.
Babeu isn’t only outraged about the program, but also about how the Obama Administration has handled the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Terry was killed with a gun linked to Operation Fast and Furious.
“He’s a hero [Terry]. He was a police officer and a marine. He was murdered and what does our government tell his brother and his mother and his family? Even a sorry and an apology wouldn’t take away the responsibility or minimize the pain but they haven’t even apologized to their family. This is outrageous that our country could be a party to this.”
Up to this point, the Obama Administration officials have denied involvement in the program. President Obama denies authorizing it, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano deny knowing about it until April 2011, despite evidence suggesting otherwise. Why? Because they don’t want to be held responsible for the lethal consequences of the program.
“It is insanity that they could try and rationalize this and still withhold and try to cover up information that implicates them. What I learned just as a regular police officer is that any body who is involved in assisting other people in crimes, that drive the get away car or give guns to people who know they’re going to commit crimes, and even if they didn’t know they would end up killing somebody, guess what we call those people? Accomplices, and they’re charged as well with the same crimes as the people who pulled the trigger.”
In the end, someone must be held responsible for these crimes within the United States government, not only for the crimes committed in America with guns deliberately placed into the hands of violent criminals through Operation Fast and Furious, but also to serve justice for the crimes committed in Mexico as a result of this program.
“These are the most violent criminals in North America and we facilitated and gave weapons, weapons that my deputies don’t even have, to these cartels,” he said. “It’s more than insane, it is horrific to think that our own government did this.”
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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