Fort Worth Gun Falls Into Wrong Hands, Kills U.S. Agent

By Jack Douglas Jr., CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – On a pleasant October day at a Fort Worth gun show, the makings of a murder began.

“That breaks my heart,” said Jim Terrell, the dealer who sold a Romanian-made gun, similar to an AK-47, on Oct. 10, 2010 to a man he described as “friendly … Just kind of casual.”

“There was nothing suspicious about him, in his movements or eye contact with us,” added Terrell, who runs a gun shop in Burleson when he is not working as a North Texas firefighter.

Four months after that purchase in Fort Worth, an assassin would pull the trigger on that same gun in a highway ambush in Mexico, killing Jaime Zapata, an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The murder, on Feb. 15, 2011, was linked to a Mexican drug cartel. And Zapata would be the first U.S. officer to die in the line of duty in Mexico since 1985.

The killing has triggered a firestorm of controversy in Congress, with some powerful lawmakers questioning how the gun –– and many others like it –– were transported across the border, landing in the hands of dangerous drug cartel mobsters.

“This is very troubling,” said U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who is one of the leading critics on how the federal government has handled gun-trafficking investigations recently.

Cornyn said he wonders whether the gun from Fort Worth that was used to kill Zapata was among the thousands of weapons lost during an ill-conceived investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The undercover project, known as “Fast and Furious” and primarily based out of Arizona, was meant to track down deadly drug cartels in Mexico by following U.S. shipments of government-supplied guns.

Cornyn, in an exclusive interview with CBS 11, said he feels certain guns bought in Houston are linked to the “Fast and Furious” operation. And that makes him suspicious of the weapon purchased at the Fort Worth gun show.

“All of this causes me to ask more questions. And the problem is we just don’t seem to be getting the cooperation that we need from Congress, the Attorney General (Eric Holder Jr.) or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms … to get to the bottom of this,” Cornyn said.

Federal records obtained by CBS 11 show that only a month after Otilio Osorio purchased the assault weapon in Fort Worth, he and his brother Ranferi delivered a load of 40 guns to a government informant in a store parking lot in Lancaster, east of Dallas.

ATF agents were watching and recording, but let the Osorio brothers drive off after the exchange was complete, the reports say.

Agent Tom Crowley, spokesman for the ATF in North Texas, told CBS 11 there was good reason for letting the gun traffickers drive away, at least initially.

“There was a stop, but it was also a part of another federal law enforcement operation … by taking them down and arresting them at that time would have possibly jeopardized that investigation,” Crowley said.

“None of the tactics used in this investigation were anything similar to what was used in Arizona’s Fast and Furious, including intentionally walking firearms across the border,” he added.

Otilio and Ranferi Osorio have since been arrested and have pleaded guilty to gun crimes in a federal court in Dallas.

Meanwhile, Jim Terrell, the gun dealer, said he feels bad but not responsible, for the path the Romanian assault weapon took after it left his hands.

“We always strive to go above and beyond in our screening process of people who buy firearms,” said Terrell. “We sell them to the good people. We don’t want the bad people to have them –– ever!”


One Comment

  1. David says:

    Who wrote this article for you, Sarah Brady? Nearly everything you said was wrong.

  2. Ron Virnelson says:

    Your report tonite was totally slanted and rife with inaccuracies as per usual on any story concerning guns or Texas Republican politicans with an anti Obama agenda like John Cornyn. Your representation of the facts was unqualified and nothing but pure sensationalism.Shame on you.
    We all share the loss of the ICE Agent but this article as shown on TV tonite dishonors his memory. Like every other TV Reporter in the DFW market you are shameless in pandering to the uninformed viewer with over the top stements that are lies and mistatements. Even the attached audio catchs your slanted editing of the gun dealers words. Please learn the difference between Firearms and stop misrepresenting them as something they are not to hype a story that does not need to be hyped to impart the serious nature of the tragic loss. Be Honest and Truthful or don’t say anything. No I do not belong to the NRA or any other Gun Oriented Organization either, but you need to certainly learn a great deal more about firearms and thier capabiities in order to report accurately on the use/misuse of one, as well as the basics of telling the truth without any spin.

    1. Lee says:

      Very well said

    2. ron norman says:

      There is a tremendous amount of information now on the internet about the malfeasance of the ATF and ‘Justice Department’ and their attempt to subvert the Constitution with an ill conceived and felony “False Flag” operation called “Fast and Furious”. Over 250 Police Officers of both Mexico and the United States have been murdered, slaughtered with the guns supplied by our own government. There is a law called “The King Pin Act” that was written for just such crimes, its is for those that supply the narcotic cartels of Mexico with guns and it was written by Senators Feinstein and Schumer but for some reason they do not want this law to be used for the gun running in “Fast and Furious”. There is a coverup by the ‘Justice Department’ and some of those people have even taken the 5th Amendment to skirt prosecution, when will those people comply with the Congressional committee who have been trying to get the information necessary for indictment for felony murder and gun running to narcotic gangs, when will ‘Justice’ come clean?

    3. Tom says:

      Yes, I agree, the media purposly misrepresent facts and information regarding firearms. I don’t trust the media one iota when it comes to firearms.

  3. Lee says:

    This should have never happend period.
    But Why dose this so call news source never reported about the illegel sales of so called assult weapons to drug cartels supported by the BATF and Attorney general eric holder’s office and the lies he told to cover up his knowing about it.

    You so called reporters expect the people to take your word as the truth but at the same time you dont have the guts to actuality report the truth in whole.

    Cowards and hypocrites is what the media has become today.

  4. Emma says:

    I cannot believe the severity of falsehood in this story. I’m extremely disappointed.

  5. charlie says:

    as always, your news readers slant the story to a liberal point of view….

  6. Sean says:

    I’ll also add that the weapon fired in the video is an AK47U with the stock in the folded position and NOT a Romanian Draco. They’re fundamentally the same being that they’re AK47variants, but the Draco has no stock, a shorter barrel and classified as a pistol versus a rifle. You could at least get that part right and borrowed mine.

  7. ditchdigger2 says:

    Sad if this happened, but our gov. supplied the Mexican gov. arms and munitions for decades. Many were stolen, sold to the cartels’ if they were not the same to begin with. This story is political propaganda. BS.

  8. Hobart says:

    Jack, you are definitely showing the “Junior” is well earned.

Comments are closed.

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