According to an article in the L.A. Times:
As the allegations have come to light, gun dealers across the southwest border have said the ATF has for years been quietly gathering information about questionable multiple purchases and even asking gun dealers to gather information, including descriptions and license plate numbers of suspicious buyers.
Dick DeGuerin, who represents Houston gun dealer Bill Carter, owner of Carter Country, said the company is now being threatened with a federal indictment as a result of multiple sales to purported straw purchasers — sales he said were not only reported to the ATF, but which federal agents encouraged Carter Country employees to complete.
“What’s going on now is some of these agents are scared of their own careers, and are afraid to own up to the fact that they encouraged Carter Country to go through with these sales,” DeGuerin said. “The breakdown came with, what did the ATF do with the information that Carter Country was delivering to them? Apparently, they didn’t do much.”