February 25, 2024
ATF Police Raid IMG 2nd instagram.com/atfhq/
ATF Police Raid IMG 2nd instagram.com/atfhq/

A former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Investigator has been accused of running guns to Mexico, and the ATF has been accused of trying to cover it up.

Jose Luis Meneses, a Mexican national, was hired by the ATF as an investigator working out of the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana. His job was to help the ATF stop gun running from the United States to Mexico, but instead of trying to solve the problem, Meneses admitted to running gun parts across the border to three men, including his brother, who is a  police officer, a state judicial official, and a former member of Mexico’s military.

According to an ATF whistleblower who turned over information to Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) office, Mr. Meneses, starting in 2017, would take a car with diplomatic license plates and drive it over the border to California. The ATF employee would visit a gun shop and purchase firearm parts. The gun shop is not named or accused of doing anything illegal. The gun shop was who notified the Consulate of the suspicious activity.

Mr. Meneses would drive the car loaded with the gun parts and cross back into Mexico. Because the car had diplomatic license plates, it was not searched at the border. The ATF investigator would then sell the parts to the three men. Sen. Grassley’s office is concerned that the firearms could be sold to the Mexican criminal underworld. His letter states that the drug cartels regularly purchase firearms from Mexican military members, and the military member in question did resell the rifles, although it is unclear who was the final buyer of the AR-pattern rifles.

“Meneses further admitted that he purchased and trafficked firearms for at least three people in Mexico: his brother who was a police officer, a state judicial official, and a man identified as ‘Romero,’ a former member of the Mexican military. The memo states that ‘Romero’ would complete the AR rifles in Mexico to further sell and traffic the firearms to others in Mexico. According to media reports at the time, it was widely known that Mexican drug cartels would recruit current and former Mexican military personnel to be enforcers to carry out violent attacks on behalf of cartels.”

Violent crimes have skyrocketed in Mexico as cartels fight over territory and the lucrative drug trade. Murders are at an all-time high, and citizens live in fear. Mexico has strict gun control, preventing most law-abiding Mexicans from acquiring firearms for self-defense. These laws do not prevent the violent cartels from getting their hands on everything from handguns to miniguns.

Mexico claims most of the firearms used by narco-terrorist groups flow across the border from the United States. The Mexican Government makes the bold claim that 70% of all guns used in crimes were smuggled into Mexico from the United States. There is no way to verify these claims without Mexico releasing its documentation, which it has not been willing to do so far. The Mexican Government accuses the U.S. Government of not doing enough to stem the flow of firearms to our southern neighbor.

According to memos released by the whistleblower to Sen. Grassley, when the ATF discovered the gun running, they purposefully did not perform a full investigation.

ATF cut ties with Meneses and drafted a memo of notice for the Mexican government. The agency then purposely chose not to send the information and intentionally left the Mexican government in the dark. Senator Grassley wrote to the ATF over concerns the Bureau was actively ignoring criminal actions committed by its employees.

“If these protected disclosures are true and accurate, they illustrate a failure by the ATF to hold its employees accountable for criminal misconduct,” Grassley’s letter reads.

This situation isn’t the first time the ATF has been mired in allegations of gun running. During the Obama Administration, the ATF let guns filter across the border under Eric Holder’s “Operation Fast and Furious.” Guns that the ATF let cross the border were used to murder multiple people, including Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, in December of 2010.

Mexico is demanding a full investigation into Meneses and his alleged crimes. They do not believe that the United States did enough in its investigation.

“We will demand they get to the bottom of this in order to bring those responsible to justice and that this type of action never happens again,” A Mexican official said.

One U.S. Official said everything was handled properly. Even though the man did bring in enough parts to assemble eight AR-15 rifles to sell to criminals, the embassy insisted firing him and revoking his access was enough punishment.

“The embassy found out about suspicious activity, revoked compound access within a day, did an investigation, and fired him within a month. It’s terrible that it happened, but this is exactly how it’s supposed to work,” a U.S. official said.

There are still many questions left to be answered. When the ATF has been coming down hard on people for such things as selling a picture of a lightning link, how does it let one of its own off the hook for gun running?

ATF Employee Caught Gun Running To Mexico | Grassley to ATF – Employee Misconduct by AmmoLand Shooting Sports News on Scribd


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

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