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Mexican officials destroy guns connected to 'Operation Fast and Furious'

Mexican authorities in Monterrey destroyed nearly 6,000 firearms during a special ceremony on Tuesday, including 500 weapons connected with Operation Fast and Furious, a botched U.S. federal investigation that lost track of hundreds of firearms after they were purchased by straw buyers in U.S. gun stores.

In a news release from officials in Nuevo León, the state's governor Jaime "El Bronco" Rodriguez Calderon blamed the United States for the "destruction" of Mexican society, and said that weapons illegally imported from the United States had destroyed "thousands of lives" in his country. 

"Obviously, we have to close the Mexican border to the introduction of firearms," he said.

Gen. Javier Cruz Rivas, a commander of the military region that covers Nuevo León said that the guns were seized in "daily actions" by the military in three states, including Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, and Tamaulipas.

"These weapons were used against innocent people, weapons that will never again be used to commit crime or to harm society," said Cruz.

Nuevo León and Tamaulipas are border states south of Texas, and San Luis Potosí is further south.

Aldo Fasci Zuazua, a spokesman for the Security Coordination Group, said that around 3,500 of the weapons were seized in Nuevo León, and that 500 illegally entered Mexico as part of the failed U.S. government program known as "Operation Fast and Furious."

Originally designed to track the sale of firearms bought in illegal straw purchases in Phoenix-area gun stores, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives effort came to be known for allowing smugglers to bootleg hundreds of firearms into Mexico.

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The program came to light in December 2010 after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was mortally wounded during a firefight near Rio Rico, south of Tucson.

Following the shooting, investigators linked two AK-47 patterned rifles recovered at the scene to the ATF's operation, and it soon became clear that officials had lost track of more than 1,7000 firearms, including AK-47s, .50 cal sniper rifles, and dozens of handguns. Most of the guns reportedly went to the Sinaloa cartel, and the Mexican government has said that at least 500 murders were connected to the lost guns.

This includes the 2011 murder of Jaime Zapata, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations, a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, after he and his partner were ambushed by cartel gunmen at a fake military checkpoint in Nuevo León.

Ultimately, the agency recovered around 700 of the weapons.

Discovery of the "gun walking" operation set off a congressional investigation led by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, ultimately leading to a standoff between the White House and Congress. In 2012, Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over records.

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1 comment on this story

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75 comments
Jan 18, 2017, 5:19 pm
-0 +0

Is Mark Finchem going to have money withheld from them as they didn’t sell the guns to the Mexican public because the guns have value?  Poor Montarey, they’re so misguided and don’t realize they should have profited from all those valuable guns.

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Staff/Nuevo Leon

A member of the Mexican army saws through a rifle, one of nearly 6,000 weapons destroyed by Mexican officials during a ceremony on Tuesday in Monterrey.