ATF’s Fast and Furious: A Gun Store Owner Speaks Out


September 12, 2011

A Phoenix-area gun dealer recently opened up about his role in Operation Fast and Furious, the now-infamous ATF gunrunning sting gone horribly wrong.

“Was I betrayed? Absolutely yes,” Andre Howard told the Los Angeles Times about his experience cooperating with ATF agents.

The deal: Howard would sell weapons illegally and the ATF would track them as part of their sting. He sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of weapons over 15 months but never heard about any arrests. Howard says he feared that someone might get hurt:

“Every passing week, I worried about something like that,” he said. “I felt horrible and sick.”

Howard’s worst fears came true last December, when two AK-47 variants he sold were found at a crime scene in Mexico near where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was found dead. The Times also reports that the straw buyer in the case, Jaime Avila, was stopped with weapons at the Mexico border, but ordered released by the ATF with the hope they could trace the weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

To date, more than 100 guns have found in Mexico have been traced to Fast and Furious; according to a congressional report and Arizona’s ABC affiliate, several are Romarm Cugir AK-47 variants similar to the ones we profiled during our Gunrunners investigation. These weapons have become the “scourge” of the Mexican drug war.


In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus