Editors note: A previous version of this story stated ATF allowed grenades to "walk," that is incorrect. U.S. Attorneys dropped the Kingery case after ATF agents arrested Kingery and had a full confession. Please see the detailed update here.
ATF's gunwalking and the Department of Justice failure to prosecute cases
grenade walking tactics have come back to haunt them...again. CBS Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson has the scoop:
CBS News has learned of a shocking link between a deadly drug cartel shootout with Mexican police last week and a controversial case in the U.S. The link is one of the grenades used in the violent fight, which killed three policemen and four cartel members and was captured on video by residents in the area.
According to a Justice Department "Significant Incident Report" filed Tuesday and obtained by CBS News, evidence connects one of the grenades to Jean Baptiste Kingery, an alleged firearms trafficker U.S. officials allowed to operate for years without arresting despite significant evidence that he was moving massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico's ruthless drug cartels.
The gun battle took place last week in Guadalajara. Authorities say five members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel used at least nine firearms and ten hand grenades against Mexican police. If one of the grenades was supplied with the help of Kingery, as believed, it adds to the toll of lives taken with weapons trafficked by suspects U.S. officials watched but did not stop.
The incident report states, "Jalisco State Police Officers murdered during a shooting with members of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion in Tepatitlan, Jalisoc, MX. In the late hours of October 10, 2013, officers with the Jalisco State Police engaged in a shooting with members of the cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion in Tepatitlan, Jalisco. During the shooting, three Jalisco State Police Officers were killed, including the third in command of the Police Department, and three others were injured. Elements of the State Police received fire from a .50 caliber rifle and at least 10 hand grenades, the evidence of one being reported as a "Kingery" grenade. It is also being reported that nine firearms were recovered from the scene during the post incident search. ATF MCO is awaiting further information in order to submit urgent trace requests to the National Tracing Center as well as attempting to receive more information from contacts within the Jalisco Police Department."
Guadalajara is much further south in Mexico than places we've seen DOJ linked weapons show up before. Most incidents involving the use of firearms or other weapons connected to ATF or DOJ operations have been recovered in northern states like Chihuahua. Earlier this year, a police chief and his body guard were killed with Operation Fast and Furious weapons. Last year, a Mexican beauty queen was used as a human shield in a firefight and killed. Guns from Operation Fast and Furious were left at the crime scene.
In July, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking why the Department of Justice was failing to inform Congress of murders connected to DOJ operations.
"Since the beginning of this investigation, we have followed the link between Fast and Furious weapons and crimes committed on both sides of the border. On numerous occasions we have asked the Department to keep us apprised of Fast and Furious weapon recoveries -- especially as they relate to violent crimes," Grassley wrote. "Despite our repeated requests, it has been over a year since we last heard from the Department on this issue...such actions do little to promote trust between the Department and Congress, and only provide further evidence that the Department is actively trying to conceal all information pertaining to Fast and Furious from Congress."