A watchdog for the Department of Justice has found “serious failures” with how the department handled the investigation of a man who was suspected of moving grenade components from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels.
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General compared the department’s failures to the botched Fast and Furious investigation, in which department officials tried to track guns being shipped to Mexican drug cartels, but then lost track of those guns. One of the lost guns later ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. border official.
The OIG said Justice followed the same failed pattern in a case involving Jean Baptiste Kingery. Officials first suspected Kingery of sending grenade parts to Mexico in late 2009.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intercepted two shipments of parts that were sent to Kingery, and marked those parts in a way that would let them identify the parts later, after they had been shipped to Mexico.
But the OIG said the ATF was unable to track the parts, and grenades with parts marked by the ATF were later found at crime scenes in Mexico.
“ATF agents then attempted to conduct surveillance of Kingery to determine if he was taking the grenade components into Mexico,” the OIG explained. “ATF agents also attempted to work with Mexican law enforcement officials to follow or arrest Kingery. Neither effort was successful.”
“Months later, ATF learned that two live grenades recovered at a crime scene in Mexico contained component parts that bore markings of the type ATF used on the components delivered to Kingery,” it said.