It took a while to track this down, but the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious program claimed three more lives last summer. USA Today reported on Tuesday evening that the Department of Justice acknowledged in a summary presented to Congress that a weapon used in a shootout that killed three Mexican police officers originally came from the ATF in its botched attempt to generate headlines about “straw man” weapons purchases and set the stage for gun-control legislation (via Gabriel Malor):
A new accounting of guns that were allowed to be trafficked to Mexico as part of a botched U.S. firearms investigation shows that one of the weapons was used last year in a deadly shootout that left three Mexican police officers dead.
A Justice Department summary provided to two Republican congressional committee chairmen Tuesday found that a WASR-10 rifle, purchased six years before in the U.S., was one of three rifles fired in the July 27 assault in the town of Valle de Zaragoza. It was not immediately known which weapon caused the officers’ fatal wounds.
Nevertheless, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives officials traced the WASR rifle to a Nov. 12, 2009, transaction that was part of the flawed federal gun trafficking operation, known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”
The ATF had gun dealers sell thousands of these weapons during their operation. They then lost track of the weapons, and failed to notify Mexican authorities of the fact that they had just flooded their country with these firearms. According to the DoJ, the US has recovered 410 of the weapons, while Mexico has recovered 475. The weapons have been involved in hundreds of shootings, including the murders of two Border Patrol officers, and now three law-enforcement officers in Mexico.
Today, the NY Daily News reports that the DoJ also acknowledges that a .50-caliber rifle found with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera came from Operation Fast & Furious, too:
One of the guns that Mexican officials say was found at the hideout of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera is associated with Fast and Furious, a failed “gun-walking” operation, according to the Justice Department.
The department said in a letter to members of Congress that a .50-caliber rifle that Mexican officials sent for tracing after Guzman’s arrest in January has since been connected to Fast and Furious.
U.S. 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, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives permitted gun-runners to buy weapons in hopes of tracking them and disrupting gun smuggling rungs [sic].
It took the DoJ almost two months to acknowledge what everyone already knew.
To date, only one person has lost their job over Operation Fast and Furious. No one has been prosecuted for the deadly political stunt. The Obama administration continues to block access to internal DoJ communications on the basis of executive privilege, although that may not last much longer. While the US electorate may have lost interest in this scandal, others continue to lose much more than interest because of it.