The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who oversaw a botched undercover operation in Milwaukee will now be in charge of the agency’s embattled Phoenix office, where agents allowed 2,000 guns to walk into the hands of suspected criminals through Operation Fast and Furious, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Bernard “B.J.” Zapor was a key figure in Milwaukee’s “Operation Fearless,” where the Journal Sentinel found agents lost government guns, had their storefront ripped off, and arrested at least four of the wrong people.
Zapor had been in charge of the St. Paul, Mn. field division. Federal officials told congressional staffers in April that disciplinary action was under way against Zapor because of the Milwaukee operation. They won’t say if the assignment to Phoenix is punishment. Zapor started as an agent in Phoenix in 1989 and has family members living in that part of the country. He will be able to retire when he turns 50, in two years. With its proximity to the Mexican border and population, Phoenix is a higher profile field division than St. Paul. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) questioned putting Zapor in charge of Phoenix, given his “failed management of Operation Fearless.”