The Univision News investigation also found ATF offices from states besides Arizona pursued similar misguided strategies. In Florida, the weapons from Operation Castaway ended up in the hands of criminals inColombia, Honduras and Venezuela (link audio crumpler), the lead informant in the case told Univision News in a prison interview.
"When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels," Hugh Crumpler, a Vietnam veteran turned arms trafficker, told Univision News. "The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time. They could not have followed me for two months like they said they did, and not know the guns were going somewhere, and not want for that to be happening."
Other firearms under ATF surveillance were permitted to leave the country from Texas, according to court documents and the exclusive testimony of Magdalena Avila Villalobos, the sister of an ICE agent who survived a confrontation with cartel hit men on a rural highway in Mexico on February 15, 2011. His fellow agent, Jaime Zapata, was killed during the attacks.
"It's not from Arizona and Fast and Furious," Avila Villalobos told Univision News, speaking in her brother's stead for the first time, "but it's a very similar operation..." She later added, "Those weapons that have been recovered, it's been confirmed that they were weapons used in the shootout that killed Jaime Zapata and wounded Victor Avila."
The Texas-based operation and the firearms linked to the attack were bought by two trafficking rings in the state, according to Raymond Thomas, the Zapata family's lawyer.
Earlier this year, Texas Senator John Cornyn had echoed Thomas' assertions . Moreover, on September 25, Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley, the politicians behind the Fast and Furious congressional report released in July, sent a letter to the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General, requesting an investigation into Avila's and Zapata's case.