"U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, today wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting him to immediately disclose information related to the existence of any potential “gun-walking” programs in the State of Texas and provide answers to the family of fallen U.S. ICE Agent Jaime Zapata about the source of the weapons found at his murder scene, one of which has been linked to a Texas-based straw purchaser.
Sen. Cornyn first requested this information from the Attorney General more than one year ago and to date has only received a routine response indicating a review was taking place and additional information would be provided. As it stands, various sources, including sworn testimony and court documents, indicate that ATF not only allowed firearms to cross from Texas into Mexico but also asked Texas gun store owners to transfer weapons to suspected drug cartel agents.
“More than 19 months have passed since the murder of my fellow Texan and U.S. ICE Agent Jaime Zapata. His family deserves answers, not more stonewalling. I ask that you immediately disclose the details of any “gun-walking” program or tactics carried out by your Department in the State of Texas,” Sen. Cornyn wrote."
The full text of the letter is below and attached.
October 2, 2012
The Honorable Eric H. Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
On August 11, 2011, I sent you a letter asking that you promptly disclose the details of any “gun-walking” programs that the Department of Justice may have operated in the State of Texas. On November 4, 2011, I received a cursory response from your staff claiming that the Department was “currently engaged in a review of the allegations you have brought to our attention and will provide you with additional information as soon as possible.” Eleven months have passed since I received this response, and your Department has failed to answer my questions. This is unacceptable.
As you are aware, on February 15, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata, one of my constituents, was brutally murdered in a Los Zetas Cartel ambush on a highway near San Luis Potosí, Mexico. One of the weapons used to murder Agent Zapata was purchased in Texas on October 10, 2010, and was subsequently traced to a Texas-based firearms trafficking ring managed by Otilio Osorio, Ranferi Osorio, and Kelvin Morrison. Even more troubling, Senator Grassley and Representative Issa have uncovered a trail of documents suggesting that ATF agents may have had probable cause to arrest the members of this gun trafficking ring approximately three weeks prior to the purchase of the weapon used to murder Agent Zapata. At the very least, documents show that ATF could have arrested these criminals three months prior to Agent Zapata’s murder, when they illegally transferred 40 weapons to an ATF informant. They were not arrested until after Agent Zapata’s death.
Additionally, the attorney for Carter’s Country, a Houston chain of outdoor sports stores, has reported that ATF agents directed their store clerks to go through with the sale of multiple firearms to suspicious purchasers between 2006 and 2010, even when these clerks had grave concerns about the sales in question. Carter’s Country representatives have stated that ATF agents did not always show up to interdict the weapons that they directed the store clerks to transfer to suspicious purchasers.
More than 19 months have passed since the murder of my fellow Texan and U.S. ICE Agent Jaime Zapata. His family deserves answers, not more stonewalling. I ask that you immediately disclose the details of any “gun-walking” program or tactics carried out by your Department in the State of Texas.
United States Senator