Audio Interview of “Castaway” Informant Contradicts ATF Denial of Gunrunning Into Honduras, Colombia, Puerto Rico
As a result of Univision’s coverage of the Fast and Furious scandal, more calls are being made for Eric Holder to step down from the Department of Justice, including that of GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan.
One of the more shocking allegations is that Fast and Furious was not the only gun-running program run by the ATF, but that “Castaway” sent unregistered guns into Honduras as well. The claim had been made before, and ridiculed by the Left, but Univision asserts that they have admissions from Hugh Crumpler who was caught in the operation smuggling guns, and became an informant in a plea deal:
The Univision News investigation also found ATF offices from states besides Arizona pursued similar misguided strategies. In Florida, the weapons from Operation Castaway ended up in the hands of criminals in Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela (link audio crumpler), the lead informant in the case told Univision News in a prison interview.
“When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels,” Hugh Crumpler, a Vietnam veteran turned arms trafficker, told Univision News. “The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time. They could not have followed me for two months like they said they did, and not know the guns were going somewhere, and not want for that to be happening.”
But the ATF specifically denied this in a statement made to Leftist propaganda machine Media Matters from July 27th:
The ATF denies that agents knowingly allowed firearms to be smuggled to Honduras or any other country as part of Operation Castaway, telling Media Matters:
ATF agents were careful to ensure that no illegal weapons left the US, as evidenced by the interdiction and seizure for evidence of a large box containing handguns and other firearms that Operation Castaway defendants attempted to mail by air freight to Honduras in the final days of the Castaway investigation.
Crumpler made some very surprising claims as part of the interview with Univision, which has released an edited version of the interview below:
Below is the full transcript of the interview from Univision:
Mr. Crumpler, when did you know that the ATF was allowing the guns walking out of the country? Do you have any evidence of that?
00:00:30 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, yes, sir. I, when the ATF stopped me, which was in late January of 2010, they stopped me and they told me the guns were going to, cartels. At that point, that was the first time I knew they were going to cartels. The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time.
And what-what cartels?
00:00:56 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, they did not tell me which cartels. I had surmised based on, uh, trying to do intelligence on my own that the guns were going to Honduras. And-and I presumed that they were to, uh, for anti Chavez and anti Zelaya activities is what I presumed. And what I was led to believe. And-and I had no clue ever that they were going to cartels until the ATF told me.
When you say the ATF, uh, how many agents told you the same story?
00:01:31 MR. CRUMPLER
How many agents?
00:01:32 MR. CRUMPLER
[overlapping] Uh, there were about 20 involved in following me, uh, according to what the ATF agents told me. And the night they stopped me, there were five ATF agents. And all of those agents knew and were involved in the timeframe of telling me. We were in a vehicle and there were two ATF agents in that vehicle who were driving me, uh, basically to-to a hotel. And, uh, to their office and then to a hotel.
00:02:00 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And they told me. And later that evening, there were other ATF agents who they said I was free to go, but they had a guard outside my door. And, uh, they also knew.
And what about Mexico? The, did they tell you that some of the guns end up in Mexico?
00:02:21 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, I began cooperating with the ATF to help them, uh, apprehend the individuals who were involved in shipping the guns to-to Honduras and involved in shipping them out. And what they told me and-and I believe it was that first evening and maybe it was the second day of cooperation. But they told me that the guns would go to Honduras. And from Honduras, they went both South and North. That they would go to Colombia and to Mexico through Honduras. And there was a list of whole other countries that they were asking me questions about and I had no clue.
And the-the ATF agents, uh, seems to be worry about the final destination of the guns?
00:03:07 MR. CRUMPLER
[stammers] The ATF was worried about the final destination of the guns, but not the way you would think they should be worried. I was cooperating with the ATF and they brought me a picture of an individual from the Alvina Way, Orlando residence and asked me to identify that individual. Which I did. They told me he was taking guns to an international shipping facility, which the guns were then placed in an overseas shipping container that was in Orlando.
00:03:40 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And they had photographed this individual delivering the guns as part of their investigation of-of these other people and part of my cooperation. Then the following day, uh, I was in a meeting again cooperating and the agents were told that ICE, uh, intercepted this shipment at a seaport, which I believe was Miami. And the agents were upset that ICE had intercepted the guns before they got to Honduras. So yes, they were concerned about their guns they were going, but they wanted them to go there. Not that they didn’t want them to go there. But they wanted them to go there.
And, uh, that happened only [stammers] once or…?
00:04:24 MR. CRUMPLER
[overlapping] That’s only, that’s only happened the only one time that I was in there and I observed that. Now I [stammers] I don’t know how many other times they watched guns go. I presume it was a lot, ’cause they followed me a lot. But that was the only time that I saw their reaction and I saw what happened and I knew they knew exactly what was going on.
You told me the, to the Examiner that, uh, that you were told by the agents that the operation was behind supervised at the national level. What do you mean by that?
00:05:03 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, I was told that the, uh, my investigation in Operation Castaway, which centered around me, was supervised at the national level. I presumed it meant the head of the ATF was supervising it and I presumed it meant that the head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office was supervising the operation, because every time anybody did anything, they had to go through their superiors and their superiors and their superiors. And it always took a long time to get things done.
00:05:36 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And in that process is why two of the individuals are still on the loose. We believe they went to Honduras. But two of the individuals are were not apprehended.
[overlapping] But you never, you never ask them directly [stammers] um, what they do they mean about, uh, high level?
00:05:56 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, no, I did not ask them what they meant. They said national. They said national level. Uh, to me, that means the head. And I don’t, I did not ask them specifically which person, no. when a gun is involved in a crime, it is the standard operating procedure of the ATF to go to the manufacturer and trace that gun by serial number all the way to the last individual that they have a record of owning it. Then they’re supposed to go to that individual and ask him, where is this gun? What happened to this gun? Did you commit this crime? Well, in my plea agreement, it showed that there were two instances where guns were involved in crime.
00:07:00 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
One in Puerto Rico, they found on a hitman. And one in Colombia involved in a homicide. They never asked me any questions about either of those guns. That’s their standard operating procedure is they are supposed to follow those, they’re supposed to check to see where that gun went. That’s part of their investigation of who committed the crime. Then also I filled out, uh, multiple sales reports. All-all the guns that I purchased, I purchased legally.
00:07:35 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
There was, and I purchased a [stammers] the vast majority of them from retail gun dealers. Now when I do that and I purchase more than two handguns at one time, I fill out a-a multiple sales report that goes to the ATF. They, the ATF told me they had 512 multiple sales reports on me that were filled out. Now as part of their standard operating procedure, when, uh, somebody has too many of those and they look and see that many of the guns are the exact same model gun, then they question that person, are you selling these guns for a profit?
00:08:17 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And if the person says they are or even if they don’t, they tell them, get a license or stop. And they never questioned me about any of those. Now 512 is a ridiculous point to stop somebody, considering a lot of those that I had were 30 guns or more on each form.
So you never learn the guns end up in Colombia or in Honduras and in Puerto Rico? They never explain to you, uh, about, how those guns end up in those countries?
00:08:52 MR. CRUMPLER
[stammers] When I sold, the guns to, I sold them, I was doing gun shows. And I would notice that certain individuals would be at every gun show buying guns. And I’m a reasonably good salesperson and it doesn’t take long to figure out that if you have a customer at every gun show who buys a gun from you, that’s a pretty good deal. So I asked him what they bought. And they told me. And slowly over a period of time, I developed a group of customers.
00:09:25 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And it dawned on me one day that they were all Hondurans. And that they all seemed to want the same type of guns and they all seemed to want more and more as time progressed. Well, each one of them had shown me a Florida ID before I sold to them. And told me that they were legal to buy a gun. Well, a lot of them were fake ID’s, which the ATF told me. And-and a lot of them, uh, were not legal to buy guns, which the ATF told me.
00:09:59 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And I didn’t know. But I started wondering, why are all these people buying all these guns? Why are they all from Honduras? So I did my research. I can’t ask somebody, why are you buying these guns? You know, what are you doing with them? And I [stammers] the guns were going to Honduras. And at the time, Zelaya was President of Honduras. And through the information that these people I was dealing with, they told me that Chavez was supporting Honduras and he was supporting the Honduran country, in terms of lower oil prices for the country.
00:10:34 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And the people were wanting to have protection against crime and protection against a corrupt government. Well, during this timeframe, Zelaya was ousted. And now there was even more turmoil. And-and one of these individuals [stammers] had information that no telling how he obtained, but that [stammers] Chavez was flying two Cessna’s every day. Each one had 10 million dollars worth of U.S. 20 dollar bills in it. And those bills were being handed out to the peasants to protest the ouster of Zelaya.
00:11:14 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And so now there was even more turmoil and these people were wanting more guns and they were indicating to me that it was to support, uh, the-the new government. Which I believed. And, uh, and I-I wanted to believe. And at the same time, I’m asking myself, I’ve bought a lot of guns. I’m not [stammers] hidden the fact that I’ve bought a lot of guns. And I’ve sold a lot of guns.
00:11:39 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And I’ve not hidden the fact that I’ve sold a lot of guns. Why hasn’t the ATF contacted me? That’s what I asked myself. And the only thing I could come up was they wanted me to sell these guns to these people. Well I thought they wanted it because the guns were going to support an American type of government, but it turns out that wasn’t the truth. They knew the guns were going to cartels and they wanted them to go to cartels.
Could you describe for me what was the profile of these guys from Honduras? Were they businessmen? Or just middle men in the business?
00:12:25 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh [stammers] the individuals from Honduras?
00:12:28 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, one-one from Jacksonville, Missouri, uh, Jacksonville, Florida, I’m sorry, was related to a family in Honduras. Which during my cooperation with the ATF on a recording, he said that his family and one of the other families I was dealing with were the two largest gun dealing families in Honduras. He-he was a U.S. citizen who was related to some very high up people in Honduras. Uh, one of the individuals didn’t buy a lot of guns, but one of the individual’s brother was a Major who escorted Zelaya out of office and was on the new President’s staff.
00:13:15 MR. CRUMPLER
And his father, uh, of course his father was in, these two people, individuals, were in Miami. And they through cooperation and testifying at-at another individual’s trial, I learned that one member of that family was also Solicitor General of Honduras. That was one of the-the questions [stammers] the attorney asked me, did I know that? Well I didn’t know that.
00:13:48 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
Uh, some of the other individuals, uh, they were regular working people. I mean, I mean, they plastered houses, they raked yards, they-they laid blocks. Uh, one individual owned his own, uh, subcontracting company. And mostly he laid blocks for houses. But the ATF told me that these individuals were brought to the U.S. by cartels and-and they weren’t necessarily members of the cartels, but they were brought to the U.S. by cartels, and as payment, their service to the cartel was that they purchase these guns and then ship them to Honduras. That’s what the ATF said.
And when you talk about cartels, are you talking about Mexican and Colombian cartels?
00:14:35 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, the guns ended up at Colombian cartels. I-I don’t have any indication that any ended up in Mexico, but that’s where they were supposed to go. And I was only told cartels by the ATF and they didn’t tell me which ones. Although one [stammers] actually two individuals I’ve sold guns to, one they prosecuted, one they did not, uh, shipped guns to Puerto Rico and they went to, uh, one of the guns was found on the most, uh, violent cartel in Colombia hitman.
That is the [speaks foreign language]
00:15:12 MR. CRUMPLER
And do you know details on how that gun ended up in the, Envigado [stammers], organization?
00:15:26 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, uh, I sold it to the individual who sold it to them. And, uh, how he got it to them, I don’t know. But I do know he made trips to Puerto Rico. And the same thing with the [stammers] other individual that they did not pursue. And the other individual in particular went to gun shows and carried 10 thousand dollars worth of cash and bought 10 thousand dollars worth of guns to sell for a profit and to take to Puerto Rico, uh, at every gun show.
[overlapping] Could you tell–?
00:15:54 MR. CRUMPLER
[overlapping] The ATF did not pursue him.
Could you tell us the name of those individuals?
00:16:00 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, the name of the individual who had the 10 thousand dollars was Jimmy. And-and I don’t know his last name. Uh, he lived in Orlando and he painted motorcycles. Uh, the-the other individual was Ray and his name was Raymond and I don’t remember his last name. But, uh, he-he–
00:17:48 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, while the [stammers] while I was cooperating with the ATF, I wrote every senator on, in the House Committee that monitors the ATF and then I wrote every congressman and none replied. Since the information about Fast And Furious broke out, I have written Gus Bilirakis of Tampa because he did the investigation of Operation Castaway. I’ve written, uh, Representative Issa and Senator Grassley. Neither one of them have responded. I wrote, uh, Senator Rubio.
00:18:27 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
Um, he is, he had, uh, representatives at every gun show. And I got a form letter from him yesterday. And basically it’s, it indicated to me that he had read my letter and he supports the investigation of Operation Gunrunner and that’s it. That’s the one letter–
00:19:24 MR. CRUMPLER
And I never heard from anybody. And I offered to cooperate [stammers] you know and to testify and I have continued to offer to testify and nobody, in my mind, nobody’s had the courtesy to respond.
How do you meet the guys from Alvina Way?
00:19:41 MR. CRUMPLER
Uh, I met them at gun shows. Uh, they-they were, they were at every gun show. They would go to every gun show and they would always buy one or two guns. And a regular customer is much better for somebody who’s selling guns than somebody, uh, who’s selling anything than somebody who’s a one time customer. So I asked them what they wanted. And the next time there was a gun show, I made sure I had what they wanted. And after a period of time, I discovered what they would pay, so I knew what I could pay for it. And…
And do-do [stammers] do they, uh, speak English or…?
00:20:19 MR. CRUMPLER
They-they speak English, uh, broken English. Sometimes they have somebody to help them translate. And as I sold to one or two, they would spread the word, buy from this guy. He’s got the good stuff.
And who-who was, who sent them to U.S.?
00:20:36 MR. CRUMPLER
Who sent them to U.S.? I was told they were sent to the U.S. by cartels. That’s what the ATF told me.
And, uh… [stammers] Did you ever find out why the government who was watching, u you allowed you to continue to do that?
00:20:58 MR. CRUMPLER
Um, what I’ve found out from-from reading newspaper articles is that the government wanted the guns to end up in Mexico, in the hands of Mexican cartels so that when there was a crime scene, guns could be found and traced back to the United States. Then President Obama could pass more anti-gun legislation. So far, what Congress has found out through their investigations is that Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, ordered [stammers] Kenneth Nelson, who was the Acting Director of the ATF to allow the guns to flow.
00:21:39 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
To let them go. We want them in Mexico. Let them go. Now he was [stammers] Nelson was set up to be the fall guy, but he testified and told that Eric Tolder, Holder told him. There is hints from Nancy Pelosi and from President Obama that they had things in the works so they could pass anti-gun legislation. Now these people believe that these, that Nancy Pelosi and Obama were involved in this and that they supervised it from the beginning. But nobody has any proof to that. But that’s what they’re trying to find out.
Did you learn of this from the ATF agents?
00:22:24 MR. CRUMPLER
What, uh, I learned that from reading articles, uh, that people have sent me. It’s very hard to get articles or information here in prison. But I’ve learned it from what people have sent me and reading the articles of-of Senator Grassley’s information and Representative Issa’s investigation of Operation Fast And Furious. And it has the same ATF agent, the name is Virginia O’Brien, who supervised Fast And Furious and in Arizona supervised Operation Castaway in Florida.
But when you said that theythe idea was to let the guns, uh, walk, uh, away from the country, that was because some of the agents told you that that was the, um, the original, um, plan.
00:23:18 MR. CRUMPLER
No. The agents would not tell me that.
00:23:21 MR. CRUMPLER
The, no, the agents, the ATF agents would not tell me the original plan. The ATF agents, I-I knew what the ATF agents were doing by the way they acted and by the fact that they didn’t follow their own [stammers] standard operation, operating procedure. And [stammers] they can’t [stammers] they could not have followed me for two months like they said they did and not know the guns were going somewhere and not want for that to be happening.
00:23:50 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And [stammers] and when they were upset they let the guns be put in an international shipping container, they let the container go to a seaport and they were mad that it didn’t go to Honduras. That the, that ICE, uh, Customs and Immigration intercepted the shipment.
And you didn’t–
00:24:08 MR. CRUMPLER
[overlapping] It was obvious by things that happened. [unintelligible]
[overlapping] You didn’t have a chance to confront them with that?
00:24:16 MR. CRUMPLER
No, I did not. I-I have asked them why they did not stop me sooner and they never answered until six months after I’d been cooperating. And the answers they gave me two different answers. And neither one, uh, I didn’t believe either one. I didn’t believe either one was plausible. And they testified in court, Agent Kevin McCann, testified in court that once an investigation begins, we don’t question and… I just told I had two minutes left. But, uh, they-they didn’t do what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it.
And what was the answer?
00:24:59 MR. CRUMPLER
The-the answer was that once there’s an investigation, start an investigation, they don’t, uh, question an individual.
And why did prosecutor in your case was [unintelligible] in explaining during the trial that the guns turned up in the hands of-of these, uh, cartels if that could be potentially damage for the government?
00:25:21 MR. CRUMPLER
They mentioned no [stammers] nothing about it being potentially damaging for the government. And they, I never knew. I did not know the guns were going to cartels until the ATF agents told me.
Yes, but the prosecutor, they [stammers] they did mention during the trial to make more serious the charges against the defendants.
00:25:41 MR. CRUMPLER
Yes, that’s correct.
00:25:44 MR. CRUMPLER
I-I don’t [stammers] I can’t answer that. I don’t know.
Okay. And, uh, as an arm dealer and-and-and war veteran, how do you feel when the President Calderon from [stammers] Mexico says that U.S. has to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons?
00:26:04 MR. CRUMPLER
I-I don’t believe [stammers] part of our Constitution is that we have the right to keep and bear arms. Uh, in World War II, the Emperor of Japan decided not to invade U.S. Even though they wiped us out at Pearl Harbor, because every American had a gun. And that’s what kept the United States from being invaded in World War II. And that will keep us from being invaded forever as long as all Americans own guns.
00:26:33 MR. CRUMPLER (CONTINUED)
And it’s, there are people who do things that are not right and who violate the law, which-which I did. Um, and, but it’s-it’s not correct to change the law or to keep everybody from owning a gun just because something bad happens.
And that’s someone tried to persuade you not to talk to, um, to us.
00:27:01 MR. CRUMPLER
Yes, nobody, even I believe even the-the warden here does not want me to talk to you, because she made it very difficult for you to do so, claiming it’s for my security. My security, there’s no, I have no security problems. I just been told to hang up.
So Crumpler at least, believes that it was fully the intention of the ATF that these guns get to the cartels. It’s also suspect that the warden is trying to keep him from talking to newsmedia. Notice that the statement made to Media Matters was that the ATF never “knowingly” helped get guns in the hands of cartels – not that it never happened under the program. Also – the very evidence they cite for substantiating that they didn’t intend for guns to end up outside of the US could be the event Crumpler refers to – the interdiction by ICE that foiled ATF’s program.
Now when will the mainstream English media start doing the same kind of reporting that Univision is?