The violent legacy of a secret government operation lives on.
Another weapon from Operation Fast and Furious has been found in the hands of violent armed groups in Mexico. The newest recovery happened on June 20 in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Mexican police and military arrested nine people and confiscated ten weapons after a gunfight between two groups. According to arrest documents, one of the weapons, a semi-automatic rifle, traces back to Fast and Furious.
The gun is listed as a “Romarm Cugir GP-WASR 10/63 rifle.”
Authorities traced the serial number to a purchase in Prescott, Arizona by Fast and Furious suspect Sean Steward nearly a decade ago: December 9, 2009.
Steward eventually pled guilty to trafficking firearms while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was monitoring him under Operation Fast and Furious.
Fast and Furious was one of numerous secret "gunwalking" operations launched by the federal government in the 2009-2011 time period that put thousands of assault rifles and other weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
Border patrol agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata were murdered by Mexican drug cartel thugs in separate incidents in 2010 and 2011 related to guns that were trafficked while under the watch of U.S. agents who neither intervened nor tracked the “walked” weapons.
Federal agent John Dodson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms helped blow the whistle on the dangerous Fast and Furious operation in an interview with me for CBS News in 2011. At that time, and in interviews since, Dodson has warned that the violent legacy of the federal gunwalking programs would be felt for decades as many of the weapons remain in circulation.
In a 2017 interview for Full Measure, Dodson told me some of the important unanswered questions include "the amount of homicides or murders that have been caused by the firearms that we allowed to be trafficked, what the ultimate cost of this strategy was."
Unanswered questions include 'the amount of homicides or murders that have been caused by the firearms that we allowed to be trafficked, what the ultimate cost of this strategy was.'John Dodson, Special Agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Watch the "Full Measure" interview with Dodson by clicking here: http://fullmeasure.news/news/cover-story/fast-and-furious-08-24-2017
Since 2011, the Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and the news media to fully disclose details of incidents involving guns that had been illegally trafficked to Mexican drug cartels under the watch of U.S. agents in Operation Fast and Furious.
Based on news reports and other sources, I’ve tracked the following known crimes linked to the “walked” weapons.
Crimes linked to Fast and Furious and related operations
At least 69, including 2 U.S. federal agents, 3 Mexican police, 1 terrorist torture/kidnaping/murder in Mexico.
Attempted murders or injuries
3: 1 in Mexico; 2 in U.S.
4 (all in Mexico)
6 incidents including, 2 in Mexico against military, 2 in U.S. against Phoenix law enforcement
In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress for withholding relevant documents. Subsequently, President Obama declared executive privilege to keep White House documents regarding Fast and Furious from being produced to the public or Congress.