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POLITICS

DOJ indicts gundealer for Fast&Furious-like sales

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

What rhymes with "pot" and "kettle"? How about "Fast and Furious"?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a complaint requesting "forfeiture of property" belonging to a New Mexico gun dealer charged with knowingly selling weapons to straw purchasers operating on behalf of Mexican drug cartels. This crime occurred during the same time frame in which DOJ conducted its own gunwalking scheme, Operation Fast and Furious, encouraging other gun dealers to do exactly the same thing.

Rick Reese of New Deal Shooting Sports, according to DOJ, "sold firearms and ammunition to individuals, knowing that these firearms and the ammunition were being illegally sent to Mexico." DOJ claims that "the Reeses sold firearms and ammunition to confidential sources who were working with law enforcement and to undercover law enforcement agents posing as straw purchasers, believing that the confidential sources and agents intended to illegally smuggle the firearms and ammunition to Mexico."

"I hope my guns go to Mexico," DOJ quotes Reese -- who was arrested August 30th -- as saying in the complaint requesting a forfeiture judgement. "I hope they use them to shoot those [Mexican police officers]."

The Mexican Attorney General, Marisela Morales, has offered strong criticism for the traffic of weapons from the United States to Mexican drug cartels. "It is an attack on the safety of Mexicans," said Morales. But she wasn't talking about Reese's alleged crime.

Morales was referring to the now-infamous gunwalking scheme conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which instructed American gun dealers to sell weapons to straw purchasers, in the hopes that those guns could later be traced to drug cartels. U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered just over one year ago by someone who had a weapon purchased through Operation Fast and Furious.

"I have no intention of resigning," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress last week during testimony about the program run under his watch, and about which he received memos throughout 2010.

Reese, who also allegedly sold weapons he believed would go to cartels, faces 60 years in prison if he is convicted.

The Washington Examiner has asked DOJ if Reese was ever involved in Fast and Furious gun sales, and whether DOJ is considering prosecutions against gundealers who participated in the program.

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