WASHINGTON (AFP) - At least 122 weapons recovered at crime scenes in Mexico have been linked to a US government weapons sting operation gone awry, two US members of Congress said in a report Tuesday.
Operation "Fast and Furious," run by the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), lost track hundreds of weapons it allowed to be sent into Mexico between 2009 and 2010 in an attempt to track smuggling routes.
"So far, the Justice Department has provided documents that reference at least 48 separate recoveries involving 122 weapons connected to 'Operation Fast and Furious,'" read the report, issued by Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley.
The two Republican legislators have been leading investigations into the program, which started in late 2009.
Two of the weapons were found at the scene of the killing of Brian Terry, a US Border Patrol agent shot and killed in Arizona on December 14 while trying to arrest armed men preying on illegal immigrants.
"The faulty design of Operation Fast and Furious led to tragic consequences. Countless United States and Mexican citizens suffered as a result," read the report.
The Mexican government of President Felipe Calderon has loudly complained about the program. Mexico estimates that 90 percent of the weapons seized from drug traffickers come from its neighbor to the north.
Several ATF agents reportedly opposed the operation, which has since been canceled.
Issa has said the program was approved at the highest levels of the US government, and has directly blamed acting ATF director Kenneth Melson and other members of the agency's leadership.
Separately, the McClatchy-Tribune news service reported Tuesday that, according to diplomatic cables, US embassy officials in Mexico City had not been informed about the ATF sting program.
President Barack Obama has said neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the program, and said the Justice Department is investigating the case.
© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license
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