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.50-cal rifle seized during El Chapo raid connected to Fast & Furious

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.50-cal rifle seized during El Chapo raid connected to Fast & Furious

  • Weapons found during the raid by Mexican marines to arrest 'El Chapo.'
    SEMARWeapons found during the raid by Mexican marines to arrest 'El Chapo.'

A .50-caliber rifle seized during the Jan. 8 arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo” Guzman was one of hundreds of weapons federal officials lost track of during the "gun-walking" operation known as Fast and Furious, Fox News reported Tuesday.

The rifle was one of at least 11 weapons found in the compound following a raid by Mexican marines in Los Mochis, a coastal city in Sinaloa, Mexico, including semi-automatic rifles, two additional .50-caliber rifles, and a cache of rocket-propelled grenades and launchers. 

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the serial numbers of the weapons, and found that at least one of the .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifles was funneled into Mexico during Operation Fast and Furious, the Arizona Republic reported. 

The ATF program was designed to trace the sale of weapons like the .50-caliber rifle from straw purchases in Phoenix-area gun stores to drug-smuggling rings in Mexico, however, poor planning resulted in the loss of nearly 1,700 firearms.

Federal officials recovered around 700 of the weapons, but Mexican officials have said that the remainder are connected to at least 500 murders, most of those committed by Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel.

The "gun-walking" program came to light in 2010 after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by bandits near Rio Rico, south of Tucson.

Two semi-automatic rifles found at the scene were traced back to guns sold during Operation Fast and Furious and allowed to be trafficked into Mexico, leading to a congressional investigation and a standoff between the White House and Congress. In 2012, Congress put then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to release documents connected to the scandal.

On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the White House to release those documents, arguing that President Barack Obama cannot claim executive privilege over those documents since some of the the material was included in an oversight report from the Inspector General’s office of the Justice Department.

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