Worse Than Gunwalker? State Dept. Allegedly Sold Guns to Zetas
It’s a stunning allegation that makes the other gunrunning scandals look like child’s play.
July 22, 2011 - 10:35 am
Phil Jordan, a former CIA operative and one-time leader of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center, claims that the Obama administration is running guns to the violent Zetas cartel through the direct commercial sale of military grade weapons:
Jordan, who served as director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center in 1995, said the Zetas have shipped large amounts of weapons purchased in the Dallas area through El Paso.
Robert “Tosh” Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot, told the Times he supported Jordan’s allegations, adding that the Zetas have reportedly bought property in the Columbus, N.M., border region to stash weapons and other contraband.
“From the intel, it appears that a company was set up in Mexico to purchase weapons through the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales Program, and that the company may have had a direct link to the Zetas.”
The U.S. Direct Commercial Sales program is run from the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. It regulates and licenses private U.S. companies’ overseas sales of weapons and other defense materials, defense services, and military training. This does not include the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, which authorized sales to foreign governments.
An El Paso Times article – as of now ignored by mainstream media — went into much more shocking detail:
“They’ve found anti-aircraft weapons and hand grenades from the Vietnam War era,” Plumlee said. Other weapons found include grenade launchers, assault rifles, handguns and military gear including night-vision goggles and body armor.
“The information about the arms trafficking was provided to our U.S. authorities long before the ‘Columbus 11′ investigation began,” said Plumlee, referring to recent indictments accusing several Columbus city officials of arms trafficking in conjunction with alleged accomplices in El Paso and Chaparral, N.M.
Jesús Rejón Aguilar, the number three man in the Zeta’s hierarchy, disclosed last week that the Zetas bought weapons in the United States and transported them across the Rio Grande. Mexican federal authorities captured Rejón on July 3 in the state of Mexico, and presented him to the news media the next day. His recorded video statement was uploaded on YouTube.
Jordan agreed with Plumlee’s allegations that the Zetas are operating in the Columbus-Palomas border.
Plumlee, who has testified before U.S. congressional committees about arms and drug trafficking, said the roads in Southern New Mexico provide smugglers easy access to Mexico’s highway networks.
Insight.org provides a map of the air-smuggling route originating in Dallas at Alliance Airport and ending in Columbus, New Mexico — a small town that has also been rocked by the arrests and guilty pleas of the town mayor and other elected officials who were running guns to a cartel safehouse, and then apparently into Mexico.
There is no direct link made as of yet between the Columbus, NM, officials case and the allegations of the Dallas-to-Columbus air smuggling route, but the possible connection should raise eyebrows.
If these allegations can be verified: what on Earth was the State Department thinking supplying the direct sale of military weapons to a cartel front company? Weapons that were then smuggled out of the very airport used by the Drug Enforcement Agency charged with bringing down the cartels?
Anthony Martin at the Examiner brings up one of the most damning and compelling questions that the State Department and Obama administration must answer if this story is true:
The program is set up so that the sale of U.S. guns to foreign entities involve direct negotiations with the governments of those countries purchasing the weapons. The description of the program specifically states that it regulates the sale of U.S. firearms to other countries or international organizations.
How, then, did a drug cartel purchase weapons through this program when it is neither an international organization nor a government?
At The Truth About Guns, Brad Kozak opines:
The ATF was not the only ones running guns to Mexico. Apparently the State Department was playing, too. And then consider this angle — was the State Department competing with the ATF for the hearts and minds of the Mexican drug trade?
If the ATF is supplying the Sinaloas (with Calderón’s tacit approval and/or help) and State is playing for the Zetas, where does that leave the rest of America?
It sounds like a fictional thriller, but considering what we’ve already learned of Operation Fast and Furious, the Justice Department, and the possibility of even more gunrunning operations (Operation Castaway) out of DOJ, is a rival program being run out of State really a bizarre accusation?