Yesterday FOX News revealed that the main suspect of Operation Fast and Furious was arrested and released three times. THREE TIMES. Two of those arrests happened in Phoenix, the origin of Fast and Furious.
FOX News showed a video of Manuel Celis-Acosta firing 10 rounds from a 45 caliber handgun purchased illegally by his accomplice Sean Stewart. But unfortunately, it took the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry to end the operation.
“We could have taken him in and prosecuted him anytime. It’s either total incompetence. Or maybe it’s something a bit more coordinated that the Department of Justice is not willing to talk about yet,” Representative Jason Chaffetz told Fox News.
Congressional investigators think Justice doesn’t want to talk about Mr. Acosta’s possible role as an informant. Here’s the timeline FOX provides to prove why:
Fast & Furious started in October 2009. Mr. Acosta was first arrested in April 2010 in Phoenix with cocaine and handguns hidden in his truck. He was released and not charged. Then, in May 2010, immigration stopped him from crossing the border because he had 74 rounds of ammunition hidden his car. According to The LA Times, the top Fast and Furious investigator, Special Agent Hope MacAllister, put her phone number on a $10 bill and gave it to Mr. Acosta after he pledged to cooperate and keep in touch. But, of course, he didn’t.
Released and no charges.
In October 2010 they caught him on tape in the shootout by a surveillance camera attached to a telephone pole. The police found 15 shell casings. Mr. Acosta is arrested again. He is also released….again.
The Phoenix police say they did forward both cases to the county attorney’s office. There were no charges the first time, but the second time he was held on charges of illegally discharging a firearm within city limits.
Sources told FOX News they think, after the October incident, they didn’t want to take him out of the equation because it would have harmed their case. This is when he probably officially became an informant and protected by the government.