Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious is the gift that keeps on giving. If the Department of Justice and the BATFE wanted guns that had been walked to keep showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, they got their wish.
The Associated Press reported this morning that a .50 BMG rifle found at Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout in January was one of the ones sold through a straw purchase in Operation Fast and Furious.
Officials say the weapon was one of 19 firearms that Mexican authorities said was recovered from the hideout and was the only one determined to be associated with the botched sting operation (sic), in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed gun-runners to buy weapons in hopes of tracking them and disrupting gun smuggling rungs (sic).
The rifle was bought in July 2010 in a straw purchase by someone not known to ATF at the time. The buyer was later identified and came under investigation but was never indicted. The weapon is not known to be associated with any other crime, the Justice Department says.
This information was revealed in a letter from Assistant AG for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Chairman Jason Chaffetz. This letter gave an accounting of walked firearms that had been recovered in the US and Mexico.
“ATF accepts full responsibility for the flawed execution of Fast and Furious, and will continue to support Mexican law enforcement in efforts to recover and identify associated firearms.’’
As of January, according to the Justice Department letter, 885 firearms purchased by targets of the ATF operation have been recovered. Of that number, 415 were found in the U.S. and 470 “appear to have been recovered in Mexico.’’
The same letter confirmed prior reports that one of 19 weapons — a .50-caliber rifle — recovered in the January raid in Mexico that resulted in the re-capture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman also was traced to the ATF operation.
The letter goes on to say that the Department of Justice “deeply regrets” that firearms connected to Project Gunwalker were used in violent crimes. If they really regretted it, former Attorney General Eric Holder would have been tried for his contempt of Congress citation and BATFE officials would have been fired and not merely moved around. As it is, Holder never was prosecuted and former Phoenix FD SAC William Newell, ASAC George Gillett, and Deputy Assistant Director Bill McMahon were never fired.
The only people who suffered as a result of Project Gunwalker were Brian Terry, Jaime Zapata, 300 plus Mexicans, and their families who had to bury their loved ones. You could also add in the whistleblowers like Sr Agent John Dodson who had his life made a living hell by the powers that be.