The weapons from a botched U.S. firearms investigation are cropping up in anti-cartel operations in Mexico, a Justice Department summary issued Tuesday confirmed.
According to a report compiled for two Republican congressional committee chairmen, a WASR-10 rifle purchased six years before in the U.S. as part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Operation Fast and Furious was one of three rifles used in a July 27 attack in the town of Valle de Zaragoza that left three Mexican police officers dead.
Another weapon tied to the operation was uncovered in the hideout where Sinaloa Cartel drug leader, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, was arrested in January.
“[The ATF] and the [Justice] Department deeply regret that firearms associated with Operation Fast and Furious have been used by criminals in the commission of violent crimes, particularly crimes resulting the death of civilians and law enforcement officers,” assistant attorney general Peter Kadzik said in a Tuesday letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa and House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah, according to USA Today.
The letter continued: “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.”