Two Tied To Operation Fast & Furious Leave Arizona
By Steve Goldstein
August 30, 2011

PHOENIX -- The U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama Tuesday, and the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was reassigned.

Both men were tied to Operation Fast and Furious, which was aimed at dismantling major gun-trafficking networks on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona.

Operation Fast and Furious was an ATF led investigation that focused on several Phoenix area gun shops and so-called “straw buyers” who took guns across the U.S.-Mexico border. It was part of an effort to make cases against major weapons traffickers.

Nearly two-thirds of the guns were believed to have ended up in Mexico. The operation became controversial when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a gun battle. At least one weapon connected to Fast and Furious was found near the location where Terry was fatally shot.

Photo courtesy U.S. Border Patrol.
Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Burke's office provided legal guidance to ATF agents about the now controversial operation. Phoenix-based attorney Lincoln Combs is representing Terry's family.

“All we know is that this doesn't bring us any closer to justice for the people involved in Brian's murder,” Combs said. “Or to any answers from the government as to Operation Fast and Furious and their role in Brian's killers obtaining the weapons they used to kill him.”

The Terry family hasn't filed a notice of claim yet with the federal government because it's waiting for more information. A claim is a necessary first step before filing a lawsuit against the government.

Burke's resignation was effective immediately. Ann Scheel will serve as acting U.S. Attorney for Arizona.

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