The U.S. Department of Justice has confirmed that a .50-caliber rifle found at the hideout of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was connected to the failed “gun-walking” operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
The Justice Department sent a letter to Congress confirming that a .50 caliber rifle discovered at El Chapo’s hideout was associated with Operation Fast and Furious. The new information from the DOJ confirms a report from Fox in late January. Operation Fast and Furious was a program in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) knowingly sold guns to Mexican drug cartels.
The term ‘gun walking’ is central to the failure of Fast and Furious. Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them. But they lost track of more than 2,000 weapons, and the Mexican government says some of them have turned up at about 170 crime scenes there.
Department of Justice officials said the rifle was one of 19 weapons found at the drug lord’s hideout during his arrest in January. The .50-caliber rifle was the only one linked to Operation Fast and Furious. The Associated Press reports:
A former U.S. official said four other firearms connected to Fast and Furious were found at a hideout in Culiacan, Mexico, where Guzman narrowly escaped capture in February 2014. He was captured about a week later in the seaside resort of Mazatlan.
As of January, 885 firearms purchased by targets of Operation Fast and Furious had been recovered, according to the Justice Department. Several of those have been linked to violent crimes, including a 2010 firefight near the Mexican border during which Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed.
“ATF and the department deeply regret that firearms associated with Operation Fast and Furious have been used by criminals in the commission of violent crimes, particularly crimes resulting in the deaths of civilians and law enforcement officials,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, head of the Justice Department’s legislative affairs office, wrote.
It should also be noted that as recently as January 2014 El Chapo was reported to have some sort of partnership with the U.S. government. Business Insider reported:
An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.
Despite attempts by the Obama Administration and former Attorney General Eric Holder to silence the truth about Fast and Furious, details have emerged. Before leaving office, Holder was found in contempt by the House of Representatives for his refusal to hand over documents related to the operation. These documents likely indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder knew more than he admitted while under oath.
On June 20, 2012 President Obama used executive privilege to keep the documents from the public. Just last week, a federal judge ruled that Obama cannot use executive privilege to keep those records secret from Congress.
According to heavily redacted emails, Holder was told about Fast and Furious in memos in July, October and November 2010. However, on March 10th, 2011, Holder testified before a Senate subcommittee that he had just learned about the Fast and Furious gun-walking allegations.
According to documents obtained by N4T, the ATF was not accurate in its assessment that the Fast and Furious program was only active in Phoenix, Arizona. N4T reports that weapons from a gunstore used by the ATF have been found in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Hermosillo, Mexico. The weapons were stolen in October 2010, two months before Fast and Furious weapons were found at the death of Brian Terry, from the Lone Wolf Trading Company gun store in Glendale, Arizona.
Derrick is available for interviews.
This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.