If not for Ian Garland’s appeal, he would still be sitting in prison. In what appears to be a gross injustice, Garland, who ran a gun shop near El Paso, Texas, was encouraged by ATF officials to sell weapons to “straw purchasers during the failed Operation Fast and Furious,” and then was arrested and thrown in prison for doing what he was told to do by the government.
Thankfully, a federal judge released Garland earlier this month, over the objections of federal prosecutors.
Ian Garland was arrested, along with the town’s mayor, Eddie Espinoza, former Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, and former village trustee Blas “Woody” Gutierrez, and many others, who were accused of smuggling guns into Mexico.
The federal government seemed quite keen to arrest everyone in the town of Columbus, New Mexico.
As an aside, former Mayor Eddie Espinoza also won an early release this month for “good behavior,” as reported by Lauren Villagran at the Albuquerque Journal. His current whereabouts were not disclosed by “officials of the U.S. Marshals office and U.S. Probation office in Albuquerque.”
After sitting in prison for two years, Garland was released about a week ago after a federal judge ruled that federal prosecutors inflated the charges against him, saying that he sold machine guns to straw purchasers. But the weapons Garland sold were legal, and the federal prosecutors even acknowledged that, but they still fought to keep this innocent man in prison!
Richard A. Serrano of the LA Times reported,
“But his lawyers won him a new sentencing hearing after discrepancies arose because some of the weapons were mislabeled as machine guns. Federal prosecutor Steven R. Spitzer acknowledged the discrepancy, but urged U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack to keep Garland in prison because he had been “conspiring” with the smugglers in Columbus. Instead, the judge released him.” [emphasis added]
The question begs to be asked. How is it possible that Garland’s legal weapons were “mislabeled as machine guns”? And how is it remotely possible that this “discrepancy” never was revealed during Garland’s trial?
As one who has reported extensively on Operation Fast and Furious, this fake arrest reeks of politics. You see, Fast and Furious was always an operation shrouded in secrecy. Americans were never meant to know about this plot, which was not about tracking weapons.
Fast and Furious was about justifying gun control. In particular, Obama and friends were very vocal about reinstating the ineffective “assault weapons” ban.
Consider this must-read article by Sharyl Attkisson.
She writes in part,
“Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales…in Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers…” [emphasis added]
A local news source, ABC affiliate KVIA, interviewed Garland and asked him specifically if he was guilty of a crime.
Garland responded in part,
“Guilty for what? For believing and trusting the ATF, telling me to sell more?”
As reported at the Columbia Daily Herald, Garland
“won an early release from prison after a federal judge in New Mexico ruled that federal prosecutors overcharged him with allegations that he knowingly provided machine guns to a group of local officials on the Southwest Border so they could send the weapons to violent drug cartels in Mexico.” [emphasis added]
Serrano reported that Garland said,
“I was told to keep selling [by the ATF]. They went on and on about that,” Garland said. “They kept coming around and even interviewing me at my house.”
Serrano noted that
“Agents in El Paso and New Mexico declined to discuss the matter.”
Read this article by a woman who personally knows Ian Garland and his wife.
She said in part,
“Many of the weapons purchased from Mr. Garland as well as other legal dealers in Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma ended up in the hands of criminals, with the approval of the US government.”
And then she states her “theory,”
“The ATF and FBI wish to thwart the will of the people and try to eliminate legal gun sales by making an example of these good citizens.”
“Several gun dealers who cooperated with ATF told CBS News and Congressional investigators they only went through with suspicious sales because ATF asked them to. Sometimes it was against the gun dealer’s own best judgment.”
Now that you know this story, consider these statements from some the Obama administration in 2009, before Operation Fast and Furious was known to the public:
In Mexico in 2009, NPR reported that President Obama said,
“I will not pretend that this is Mexico’s responsibility alone, that a demand for these drugs in the United States is what is helping to keep these cartels in business. This war is being waged with guns purchased not here but in the United States. More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that line our shared border. So, we have responsibilities as well.”
In 2009, the New York Times reported that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:
“Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”
In 2009, a report by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer and Shelden Whitehouse lamented,
“Officials on both sides of the U.S. – Mexico border agree that illegal firearms trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico is fueling drug-related violence.”
CBS News reported,
“The U.S. State Department said on Friday that U.S.-purchased or stolen weapons account for 95 percent of Mexico’s drug related killings…”
ABC News reported that Eric Holder said,
“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.
Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border.”
Operation Fast and Furious was not reported in the mainstream media until President Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents subpoenaed under the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, effectively shutting down any scrutiny of the ill advised program.
Before the connection with Ian Garland’s case and the ATF was known, Ashley Meeks of Las Cruces News reported in a very revealing article that Garland felt pressure to plead guilty. The indictment can be found here. It does not mention that the ATF encouraged Ian Garland to sell weapons.
Are there other gun dealers in prison based on this false premise?
Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.