When this case first appeared, at the height of the first exposure of the Fast and Furious scandal, it was highlighted as an example of smuggling to the Mexican cartels that was *not* a part of the operation. It might or might not be significant that the BATFE agent quoted in the article is William Newell, who had a significant role in Fast and Furious, and whose testimony before congress became infamous.
Now, one of the victims of the prosecution is able to tell a bit of his story. He was never allowed bail from the time he was arrested. His release a few weeks ago was because of falsification of evidence by the BATFE or prosecution. There is a lesson here for those who feel they are up against a political prosecution. Cop a plea deal because of tremendous pressure from the prosecution: Result, you may get hammered anyway. From the lcsun-news.com:
EL PASO >> A former gun shop owner who was convicted of conspiring with officials from Columbus, N.M., to smuggle weapons into Mexico is out of prison after successfully appealing the sentencing guidelines for his case.Garland does not have a tape of the BATFE interactions, as do other gun shops that were involved in Fast and Furious. His records were all confiscated during the prosecution. Because he dealt with the prosecutors for a plea bargain, he was not able to tell his side of the story until now. He contends that the sales he made were not "straw purchases" under the law, and the paper mentions that a case about what is a "straw purchase" is under consideration, and may make it to the Supreme Court.
Ian Garland, former owner of the now defunct Chaparral Guns store, initially was sentenced to 60 months in prison, mainly because the weapons attributed to him in the smuggling case were characterized as "machine guns," when they were not automatic weapons, according to court documents.
None the less, the writer is unequivocal about calling the sales straw purchases. No "alleged" here. This is an approved "gun crime" and the "perpetrator" is a gun dealer to boot.
Garland contends that the government should never have prosecuted him for facilitating the straw purchases of numerous weapons because he did nothing wrong.
"I've sold guns to people who are in law enforcement, and in the case of the Columbus, New Mexico, group, I sold guns to officials like the mayor and police chief, who were legally able to make such purchases," Garland said. "They kept making purchases, and when I asked why they wanted them, they said that they were also buying guns for their families to protect themselves against the drug cartel."
Garland said he filled out the correct paperwork required for firearms purchases, including the background checks, and submitted forms that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives required.We already know that someone on the prosecution side lied about evidence. That is why Garland was released. If they lied about that evidence, why should we trust them about anything else that they said? It is not as if the BATFE and the Eric Holder justice department have a sterling reputation for always telling the truth and cooperating on investigations of wrong doing.
"If anything, during an audit of my records, the ATF told me I was over-documenting my transactions," Garland said. "I told them everything that was going on, and they (ATF) told me to keep on selling (the firearms)."
It is also clear that if Garland is telling the truth, the BATFE and the prosecution had tremendous incentive to lie, to cover up, and to silence him by keeping him in jail. If this case is part of Fast and Furious, then the scandal is that much broader and that much worse. Using false evidence to put someone in jail for long periods just piles it higher and deeper.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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