By Bob Owens
June 16, 2011
On October 5, 1986, a former U.S. Air Force C-123 transport plane was shot down in Nicaragua. The pilots and radio operator perished when the plane crashed, but a former U.S. Marine who was a cargo handler on the aircraft was able to parachute to safety. He was captured by the Nicaraguan government.
The former Marine, Eugene Hasenfus, claimed to be a cargo handler for the CIA. His capture and trial began the unraveling of what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair, which saw 14 Reagan-era officials indicted and eleven convictions for a plot that traded arms to Iran for hostages and illegally funded Nicaragua’s anti-communist rebels.
On December 14, 2010, a special unit of the U.S. Border Patrol came across a group of heavily armed suspects near Rio Rico, Arizona. The Border Patrol team identified themselves as law enforcement officers, at which point the armed men open fire. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was hit in the pelvis by a single bullet and died the next morning. One of the suspects was captured, and two AK-pattern semiautomatic rifles recovered at the scene were identified by serial number as weapons that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) — acting in concert with and with the blessing of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) — allowed weapons smugglers to purchase at U.S. gun shops. The weapons were just two of more than 2,000 firearms that ATF supervisors and the highest levels of DOJ management allowed to be “walked” across the border to narco-terrorist drug cartels in Mexico, in a scandal that promises to be more damning and deadly than Iran-Contra.