Two defendants in the Fast and Furious scandal were sentenced in Phoenix on Monday for their participation in the ATF sponsored gun smuggling operation to Mexican drug cartels.
Jacob Anthony Montelongo was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison on charges of conspiracy and dealing guns without a license. Sean Christopher Steward was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy and lying.
The Justice Department brought charges against the two for illegally purchasing guns and transporting them across the border into Mexico, where the firearms made their way to drug kingpins in the notorious and deadly Mexican cartels.
However, unanswered questions abound in this latest chapter of the Fast and Furious scandal. Although several defendants have been charged and sentenced, why have no ATF personnel, including supervisory staff, been charged, given that the scheme was hatched at the top levels of the agency and the Obama administration?
If the defendants who actually purchased and sold the firearms at the behest of the ATF have been charged and sentenced to jail, why is no one in the ATF being held accountable for launching the scheme that culminated in the actions of the two defendants sentenced Monday?
According to testimony provided to Congress by whistleblower ATF agents and by supervisory staff, the agency utilized straw purchasers who made illegal purchases from licensed gun dealers who had been instructed by ATF agents to go along with the scheme and allow the illegal purchases to be made. If these persons are being held legally accountable, then does it not automatically follow that the government agents and agencies who spearheaded the illegal activity be held legally accountable as well?
ATF whistleblower agents stated early on when they first went public with the Fast and Furious scandal that the agency had no intention of conducting a sting operation with the straw purchases and smuggling of firearms into Mexico, but that the entire scheme was part of an elaborate attempt on the part of the Obama administration to justify planned calls for stringent new gun control laws, using false statistics from Mexico that were padded by smuggled firearms as proof that U.S. gun laws are too lax.
The sentencing of low level thugs, therefore, rings hollow as long as nothing is done to hold the Obama administration and the ATF supervisory staff accountable for devising and implementing the illegal operation to begin with.
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