November 28, 2012 VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. Attorney General U.S.

Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530 Dear Attorney General Holder: On March 16, 2011, I wrote to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin with questions about a gun trafficking case in which the mayor and police chief of Columbus, New Mexico had been indicted.1 I alluded in that letter to the fact that the gun trafficking case had ties to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF’s) Operation Fast and Furious. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and I detailed some of the earliest of those ties in our July 31, 2012, staff report, which stated that Border Patrol agents stopped a vehicle in Columbus on January 14, 2010, containing weapons that had only recently been purchased by Fast and Furious suspects Jaime Avila, Jr., and Uriel Patino. 2 The six weapons had since been transferred to the occupants of the vehicle, Blas Gutierrez and Miguel Carrillo, who were two of the central targets in the Columbus gun trafficking investigation.3 I write to you today because of news reports that the husband of the head of the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division has been indicted in connection with this gun trafficking investigation.4 Danny Burnett is being charged in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico with leaking sealed federal wiretap information related to the gun trafficking investigation. Mr. Burnett’s wife, Paula Burnett, is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico and formerly served as the chief of the office’s Criminal Division. Mr. Burnett’s indictment states that he had
Letter from Charles Grassley to Alan D. Bersin (Mar. 16, 2011), available at http://www.grassley.senate.gov/about/upload/Judiciary-ATF-03-16-11-Letter-to-CBP-Fast-and-Furious3.pdf. 2 “Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation, Part I of III,” Joint Report of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Minority Staff (Jul. 31, 2012), at 52, available at http://oversight.house.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2012/07/7-31-12-FF-Part-I-FINAL-REPORT.pdf. 3 Report of Investigation 2, 785120-10-[redacted] (Attachment). 4 Mike Gallagher, Fed Wiretap Leak Linked to Gun Smugglers, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL (Nov. 26, 2012).
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The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. November 28, 2012 Page 2 of 3

“knowledge that a Federal investigative and law enforcement officer had been authorized . . . to intercept a wire, oral and electronic communication . . . .”5 The indictment does not explain how Mr. Burnett obtained this knowledge or whether his wife had any role in disclosing it to him. However, a news report yesterday in the Albuquerque Journal states that Ms. Burnett has not been charged with any wrongdoing.6 During the Congressional review of Operation Fast and Furious, the head of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona resigned and asserted his rights against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before Congress. It is disturbing that the head of the Criminal Division in the neighboring district has now also resigned in connection with a case related to Fast and Furious, though she reportedly remains an assistant U.S. Attorney. In order to reassure the public regarding the integrity of the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s Office and the way this matter is being handled, please answer the following questions: 1) How did the Department become aware of Danny Burnett’s leaking of federal wiretap information? Please explain in detail. 2) Has an independent investigation been conducted into what role Paula Burnett played, if any, in her husband obtaining sealed federal wiretap information? If so, who conducted the investigation? 3) What steps have you or others in the Department taken, if any, to ensure that a full and independent inquiry is conducted to determine all the facts and circumstances surrounding the leak of information about the wiretap to the criminal targets of that wiretap, including the possible involvement of any Department personnel? 4) When and how was this matter assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas? 5) When precisely did Ms. Burnett resign as chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico? What was the reason for her resignation? 6) Did Ms. Burnett retain her responsibilities as Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico while she was under any investigation?
Indictment, U.S. v. Burnett, Case 2:12-cr-02332, Filed September 20, 2012, U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, at 1. 6 Mike Gallagher, Fed Wiretap Leak Linked to Gun Smugglers, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL (Nov. 26, 2012).
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The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. November 28, 2012 Page 3 of 3

Thank you in advance for ensuring your response arrives no later than December 17, 2012. If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Brian Downey or Tristan Leavitt of my staff at (202) 224-5225. Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley Ranking Member Attachment cc: The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General U.S. Department of Justice

Attachment

U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Report of Investigation
Investigation Number: Report Number:

Title of Investigation:

GUTIERREZ, Blas

785120-10-

2

Summary of Event Request and receipt of United States Border Patrol report and information on an additional firearms trafficker linked to a Phoenix, AZ criminal investigation.

Narrative 1. On April 20, 2010, ATF Special Agent spoke with Agent , United States Border Patrol (USBP) and requested any reports pertaining to a traffic stop conducted by the USBP in Columbus, NM involving Blas GUTIERREZ 2. On April 22, 2010, SA received USBP Report of Apprehension or Seizure. The report indicated USBP agents conducted a traffic stop based on a dispatch broadcast of a stolen vehicle. During the traffic stop, USBP agents observed three (3) assault-type rifles lying in the cargo area of the vehicle. USBP agents placed both the driver, later identified as Blas GUTIERREZ, and the passenger, later identified as Miguel CARRILLO, a H/M, D.O.B.: black hair, brown eyes, Social Security number and New Mexico Driver’s License in handcuffs while they searched the vehicle for contraband. During the search of the vehicle, USBP agents discovered five (5) additional firearms. 3. Upon further investigation, USBP agents did not locate any contraband or warrants and released GUTIERREZ and CARRILLO. However, prior to releasing them USBP agents examined and documented the firearms. They are as follows: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. CENTURY ARMS INC., Model AK-47, 7.62x39 mm pistol, Serial Number Z000990 CENTURY ARMS INC., Model AK-47, 7.62x39 mm pistol, Serial Number Z000483 CENTURY ARMS INC., Model AK-47, 7.62x39 mm pistol, Serial Number Z000499 RUGER, INC., Model P345, .45 caliber pistol, Serial Number 661-28500 RUGER, INC., Model P345, .45 caliber pistol, Serial Number 661-05561 FNH, INC., Model Five-Seven, 5.7x28mm pistol, Serial Number 386206115 FNH, INC. Model Five-Seven, 5.7x28mm pistol, Serial Number 386203502 FNH, INC. Model Five-Seven, 5.7x28mm pistol, Serial Number 386203509

Prepared by:

Title:

Signature:

Date:

Special Agent, Las Cruces II Field Office
Authorized by: Title: Signature: Date:

Resident Agent in Charge, Las Cruces II Field Office
Second level reviewer (optional): Title: Signature: Date:

William D. Newell

Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Field Division

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ATF EF 3120.2 (10-2004) For Official Use Only

Title of Investigation:

Investigation Number:

Report Number:

GUTIERREZ, Blas

785120-10-

2

4. SA conducted database checks on the above firearm serial numbers and learned that the three Century Arms Inc., Model AK-47 pistols were entered as suspect guns under S20100000056 on January 14, 2010. Note: SA is aware the USBP report notes the guns as Century Arms Inc. which is the firearms importer and not the manufacturer. Furthermore, the USBP report indicated the traffic stop was conducted on January 14, 2010. 5. SA also learned the three FN, Model Five-Seven, 5.7x28mm caliber pistols documented by the USBP agents were part of a multiple sale (M20100004614). The multiple sales report indicated the guns were purchased on January 9, 2010 by Jaime AVILA, a H/M, D.O.B.: residing at Phoenix, Arizona 85035. 6. SA is aware AVILA is a suspect in a Phoenix investigation (785115-10-0004) involving firearms trafficking to Mexico.

Attachments: Copy of New Mexico Driver’s license information depicting CARILLO Copy of USBP report Copy of Multiple Sale Summary depicting purchase by AVILA Copy of Suspect Guns listing the Romarm, Model Draco, 7.62 pistols as involved in criminal activity

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ATF EF 3120.2 (10-2004) For Official Use Only

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