Operation Fast & Furious is now linked to a local gun smuggling operation in the border town of Columbus, New Mexico.
Federal agents knew in April 2010 that the leader of the operation, town trustee Blas “Woody” Gutierrez, was found with weapons purchased by “straw man” Jaime Avila, Jr. Avila was a member of a group in Arizona that was the target of Fast & Furious.
Border agents stopped Gutierrez and Miguel Carillo on January 14, 2010 and found ten semiautomatic weapons. They ran the serial numbers in one database and nothing suspicious came up. With no active arrest warrants, the agents allowed the men to leave with the guns. Three months later, though, ATF agents in New Mexico wrote that three of those weapons were purchased by Avila on January 9. Three other weapons were connected to Uriel Patino, another Fast & Furious suspect.
The report specifically refers to Fast & Furious by number.
Senator Charles Grassley asked Alan Bersin, commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, about the traffic stop. Bersin would not hand over any information.
Fast & Furious was an ATF gun walking operation that allowed over 2,000 guns to walk into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. They are connected to the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and over 300 Mexican citizens.
These are the only weapons in this case connected to Fast & Furious. Gutierrez decided to buy himself and pay others to buy them for him from a New Mexico dealer. He has plead guilty to gun smuggling but has not been sentenced.