Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 5, 2012

Arizona Border Patrol Agent's Murder Brings Chilling Questions

Update: Monday, Oct 8, 2012
New claim that Border Patrol Agent Ivie opened fire on the other two agents was killed with return fire. The question remains: Why would Ivie open fire on the other Border Patrol agents?
Ivie, the father of two small children, was shot and killed by fellow agents. The area is a known drug smuggling area between Naco and Bisbee, Arizona

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- When Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie was shot and killed on the border near Naco on Tuesday, Tucson television Channel 4, KVOA, broadcast an eerie report.

It began with a resident speaking of the guns that the US let flow to Mexico‘s drug cartels, referring to the ATF’s Project Gunrunner.

Then, the news report showed Ivie’s body on a stretcher and being transported to the Tucson hospital. Ivie’s body was escorted by Border Patrol agents and a large number of ATF officers. The camera lingered on the large letters: “ATF” on the agents’ jackets.

On the border, residents waited to learn if Ivie was murdered with one of the weapons that the ATF provided to the drug cartels. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed with one of those weapons not far from where Ivie was killed, near Nogales in Dec. 2010. An ICE agent, Jaime Zapata, was also murdered with a Project Gunrunner weapon in northern Mexico.

NBC reported midday on Friday that the US Border Patrol would announce that Ivie was killed by “friendly fire.” There were two other agents with Ivie, one was injured, treated and released, and the third was not injured.

The FBI released a statement. "While it is important to emphasize that the FBI's investigation is actively continuing, there are strong preliminary indications that the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie and the injury to a second agent was the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents," said James Turgal, special agent in charge of the FBI's Phoenix division.
The Cochise County Sheriff's Office said based on ballistic tests, there was "indisputable evidence" that the death was the result of friendly fire.

The US Border Patrol made a public statement after 5 pm today, Friday, saying it was likely it was friendly fire and recognized Ivie's service, but took no questions from the media.

This region is one of the most desolate and dangerous.

Ivie lived in Sierra Vista. Already the Sinoloa drug cartel had made death threats to a Sierra Vista officer and DEA agents in Tucson, according to a document dated 2010 and leaked from Arizona police files by Lulzsec hackers. A Sinoloa cartel informant had reported to the FBI that the Sinoloa cartel had threatened the life of a Sierra Vista officer, who was named, but the name was not included in the report. There were also threats to DEA agents in Tucson, according to the report.

A separate police report in June 2010 exposed that drug cartels had threatened US agents and told them to look the other way when they were off duty and roping at Bar KS Ranch near Nogales. The police report states the drug cartels are "aware that they are both Police Officers and are doing their Jobs, when in uniform. However a message was relayed that the DTOs (drug trafficking organizations) are expecting for them to look the other way when not in uniform, and not in service."

The report says that the drug cartels have a sniper in position that over sees the drug loads within the Bar KS area. A source told Arizona police, "Don't be surprised that the sniper takes a pop shot at Officers to either scare them off or with bad intent."

Other facts about Project Gunrunner have been ignored by the mainstream media. Project Gunrunner began in 2005 in Laredo, Texas, according to Dept. of Justice report in 2010 and available on Wikipedia. Operation Wide Receiver was underway in 2006 in Tucson, with weapons flowing to Mexico, as exposed by Arizona Daily Star.

Then, in 2008, Arizona police officers were sharing a brochure with photos of the Project Gunrunner Weapons of Choice. It was exposed in the Arizona police e-mails hacked by Lulzsec and placed on the Internet. The brochure was sent from an Arizona police officer to members of the US Army, Navy, Arizona officers and federal agents in 2008.

Then, in June 26, 2009, US contacts in Coahuila, Mexico asked the US to curb the flow of weapons to Mexico. The ATF responded by explaining Project Gunrunner and the E-trace program, according to a US diplomatic cable from the consulate in Monterrey, Mexico, exposed by Wikileaks.

“Our Coahuila interlocutors raised several specific issues on which they sought USG cooperation and assistance. First, they requested greater action to stem the flow of arms from the U.S. into Coahuila. In response, ATF briefed on its ongoing programs and initiatives, including Project Gunrunner and E-trace.

Ivie’s death brings more questions. Before the news of “friendly fire” was released, AP reported a story that sounds much like that of rounding up the “usual suspects” in the movie Casablanca.

AP reported: “A Mexican law-enforcement official says federal police have arrested two men who may be connected with the fatal shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent this week just north of the Mexico/Arizona border.”

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