And even more...
From the Mexican magazine Proceso, with apologies for inadequacy of translation from Spanish:
"Fast and Furious: Everybody Knew"
. . . .
"- What exactly was that operation? This Weekly asked Dodson.
"We identified a group of multiple buyers who had the task of acquiring weapons not for themselves but for others." Dodson explained that the original idea was to track all the weapons were bought in order to stop the traffickers and then to the recipients. Even the Mexican drug traffickers.
"We watched these guys when they bought the weapons, acquired 5, 10 or 20 in one visit to the gun shop. On leaving they met with others in public parks or private garages. Weapons were transferred from one vehicle to another and then taken to the recipients. "
- What happened to the weapons once they were transferred to other cars?
"We had been forbidden to detain individuals, we could not confiscate weapons or identify the people involved. Our sole mission was to observe. That's how we lost track of weapons that came to Mexico."
Even the sellers knew
. . . .
Gun shops where they bought guns and rifles also knew of the operation. The ATF asked them to participate in the case.
Dodson's account: "The gun shops were more concerned than the ATF about the multiple sales because they knew that those who were buying weapons did not want them for their personal use. With this approach, the gun shops thought they were doing the right thing, they had no idea that we (the agents) were not intercepting the weapons. "
. . . .
However, agents of the ATF in Phoenix seized only a couple of arms shipments to Mexico. "The other weapons that ended in ATF's possession were seized by other agencies and they informed us," says Dodson."