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U.S. | Drug War | Police State and Prisons

Was Former DEA Agent Jailed for Exposing ATF Arms Trafficking?
by Bill Conroy
Friday Nov 25th, 2011 8:30 AM
Iran/Contra-Era Whistleblower Cele Castillo Alleged in 2008 That Federal Agents Were Helping to Smuggle Guns into Mexico
Cele Castillo, a former DEA agent who blew the whistle on the CIA-backed arms-for-drugs trade used to prop up the 1980s Contra counter-insurgency in Nicaragua, is now sitting in a federal prison for what may well be another act of whistleblowing in this century.

Before Castillo reported to the federal pen in July 2009, where he is now stuck until April 2012, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons records, he shared with this reporter a series of revelations concerning arms trafficking and what he thought were corrupt ATF agents.

Those revelations, now some three years old, dovetail in great detail with the still unfolding ATF Fast and Furious operation, in which federal ATF agents allowed thousands of high-powered weapons purchased by criminal operatives at U.S. gun stores to be smuggled into Mexico unimpeded.

And Fast and Furious, as recent news reports have revealed, was not the first such operation put in play by U.S. federal law enforcement agencies. A similar “gun-walking” tactic was employed by ATF in 2006 and 2007 under the Bush administration through a program known as Operation Wide Receiver.

Castillo’s case, which involved allegations that he purchased and sold firearms illegally, was largely ignored by the mainstream media, though Narco News reported extensively on it and Castillo’s contention that he had been framed and was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct.

At the time, as he was going through the buzz-saw line that is the federal judicial system, Castillo told Narco News that he was likely being targeted because of his role in exposing the CIA-backed effort to overthrow the elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua some 25 years earlier, or possibly because he had evidence of corruption within the ATF. But in truth, Castillo really didn’t know what direction the assault was coming from or why he was being targeted.

Now, though, in light of the exposure of ATF’s Fast and Furious, it seems the question needs to be asked:

Did Castillo, well before Fast and Furious came to light this year, rip back the curtain on a long-running U.S.-government sanctioned program to supply illegal arms to paramilitary units supported by the Mexican military — units charged with clandestinely carrying out the dirty work of the drug war in Mexico?

The answer to the question should matter to all of us, because that “war” has cost the lives of more than 50,000 Mexican citizens since it was launched in late 2006 under the reign of Mexican President Felipe Calderon? …

Read the complete article online at Narco News.