From the Arizona Daily Star:
The revelation that officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives twice declined to arrest their prime suspect shows that agents were keenly aware of Celis-Acosta’s activities yet repeatedly turned down opportunities to charge him with felony offenses and bring a quick end to the Fast and Furious probe. Instead, the investigation dragged on for months more, with the loss of about 1,700 U.S. firearms on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The new disclosure was highlighted in a letter Thursday to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., as the two top congressional investigators on Fast and Furious demanded answers as to why Celis-Acosta was twice permitted to dodge arrest. It was sent by Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Fast and Furious was launched Oct. 31, 2009, and ran until a month after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in December 2010. Two Fast and Furious assault weapons were recovered after his slaying near the border.
The congressional leaders said they learned of the gun arrest from a list of “Overt Acts” of gun-smuggling suspects that was compiled by an ATF official during Fast and Furious.