Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Drug Lords Targeted by Fast and Furious Were FBI Informants

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 |

Federal agents released alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta to help them find two Mexican drug lords. But the two were secret FBI informants, emails show ....Paz, Chivis

By Richard A. Serrano LAT

When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show. Had Celis-Acosta simply been held when he was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in May 2010, the investigation that led to the loss of hundreds of illegal guns and may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent could have been closed early.
Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau show that as far back as December 2009 — five months before Celis-Acosta was detained and released at the border in a car carrying 74 live rounds of ammunition — ATF and DEA agents learned by chance that they were separately investigating the same man in the Arizona and Mexico border region.
ATF agents had placed a secret pole camera outside his Phoenix home to track his movements, and separately the DEA was operating a "wire room" to monitor live wiretap intercepts to follow him.
In May 2010, Celis-Acosta was briefly detained at the border in Lukeville, Ariz., and then released by Hope MacAllister, the chief ATF investigator on Fast and Furious, after he promised to cooperate with her.
The ATF had hoped he would lead them to two Mexican cartel members. But records show that after Celis-Acosta finally was arrested in February 2011, the ATF learned to its surprise that the two cartel members were secret FBI informants.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) are investigating Fast and Furious, which allowed illegal gun purchases in Arizona in hopes of tracking the weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders. In a confidential memo to Republican committee members, Issa and Grassley said the ATF should have known the cartel members were informants and immediately shut down Fast and Furious.
"This means the entire goal of Fast and Furious — to target these two individuals and bring them to justice — was a failure," they wrote. The "lack of follow-through" by the various agencies, they said, typified "the serious management failures that occurred throughout all levels during Fast and Furious."
James Needles, a top ATF official in Arizona, told congressional investigators last year that it was very frustrating and a "major disappointment" to learn too late about the informants.
ATF officials declined to comment about the investigations because they are continuing.
But Adrian P. Fontes, a Phoenix attorney representing Celis-Acosta, who has pleaded not guilty, said he was concerned the federal agencies purposely did not share information.
"When one hand is not talking to the other, perhaps somebody is hiding something," he said. "Was this intentional?"
Emails and other records show that once the ATF and DEA realized they were both investigating Celis-Acosta, officials from both agencies met in December 2009 at the DEA field office in Phoenix.
It is unclear, however, whether MacAllister later told the DEA that she released Celis-Acosta in May 2010 and that he was headed into Mexico.
Her boss, David J. Voth, the ATF's group supervisor for Fast and Furious, told committee investigators that the ATF realized the Sinaloa cartel members were "national security assets," or FBI informants, only after Celis-Acosta was rearrested. He identified the informants as two brothers, and said, "We first learned when we went back and sorted out the facts."


The indictment is now unsealed I have added  the link HERE to access full document....Paz Chivis

Text unedited, photos and indictment added by Chvis

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14 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

OK....The 911 comission was supposed to end all this interdepartment rivalry. No more secrets between FBI,CIA or ATF. What the hell is going on? When will this Bullshit end?

"lito"brito said...

pinches eric holder needs to be in jail..what a culero...

ryder said...

Only when the dead are American only then do they take notice of all the damages those weapons caused.

Anonymous said...

great article but a sad reality the incompetence of the ATF is beyond criminal and the sad fact is that if it werent for the ICe agent getting killed it might still be going on the numbers of weapons is beyond belief for just this group of informants and all with the blessing of the government Amazing

Anonymous said...

So they let the gun runner go in order to nail a dope smuggler who turned out to be a protected snitch, this reminds me of that movie The Departed.

Anonymous said...

Ryder-March 22,2012 10:34am- Well i agree with u bro, its sad but true, its only when a American dies but wut about all the innocent Mexicans that die, they dont that 2 notice...

Anonymous said...

American government at its most fineist but then again when you making money frm helping keeping marijuana illegal to help keep There boss sinore chapo frm dropping the price on his prized marijuana and to help push it on to America and into junior high school to keep cash flow stedy

Anonymous said...

Who are the 2 brothers that were informants for the FBI?

Anonymous said...

It's no surprise that American federal law enforcement agencies are not on the same page! They have never operated in unison and each federal agency (FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF, etc) has their own agenda and often "step on each other's toes." The only time they work in cooperation with each other is when a large scale operation is being conducted due to some tragedy like in the case of the death of the ICE agent Zapata. It's truly sad and their current rules/method of operation are counter productive to say the least! However, the "rank and file" field agents are not to blame rather the upper management, who make the decisions are! Bottom line there are just to many US Federal law enforcement agencies. The system is broke and is clearly not effective or efficient. Mexico would be better off cutting ties and cooperation with US Federal law enforcement and work their problems internally within their country! It can be done but Mexico has to "step up to the plate" and purge the serious corruption within the government! It's comical to think the DTO problems in Mexico can be solved by US Federal law enforcement! It would be like Mexico trying to solve the problems in the US. If Mexico wants to improve the situation, they are going to have to do it by themselves!

Anonymous said...

OK, it's clear, now lets find out how many U.S soldiers died from weapons that were sent to Afghanistan from the United States, and training provided by Bush and Bush Sr.

Anonymous said...

These were not "informants." They were double agents, playing the feds like a cheap piano.

Anonymous said...

"Who are the 2 brothers that were informants for the FBI?"
March 22, 2012 11:11 PM

I think they must be the Coen brothers.[sarcasm] With all the crazy stuff, and if it weren't so sad, it all sounds like a movie they would write.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it will be explained as a "mistake" and lack of communication, but from where I'm sitting it seems to me like there is alot more going on to the whole F&F operation than we may ever know. Too many coincidences and fishy stories thus far lead me to believe that F&F was NEVER about catching Cartel members, or stopping the flow of illegal weapons into mexico, Shit the more the facts and details leak out the more it looks like a clandestine op to do the exact opposite. Who better to receive all the guns the US government is practically delivering themselves, than another US contact/informent.

And to anyone that would never believe that the good ole USofA is capable of something like this then just google Iran-Contra, a US "operation" that was supposed to help people and save the world from those evil drugs, all the while the CIA and US gov were smuggling cocain INTO america to make crack to sell to americans, using the profits to arm south american CIA trained rebels to topple a foreign government that we did not care for.

Unknown said...

i think madeline albright summed it up best, this idea only we are worth a body count. refering to our "dynsmic action other than war" in Irak she opined that " it's not our job to count the collaterals." i.e. in life or death...only WE matter.

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