Fast And Furious Gun Found At Puerto Peñasco Shootout Scene
January 02, 2014

A shootout between Mexican police and soldiers and alleged drug cartel gunmen at a Mexican resort last month has ties to a United States gunwalking operation that went awry.

CNN is reporting that at least one weapon recovered at a Dec. 18 gunfight in Puerto Peñasco is tied to Operation Fast and Furious, a case the Fronteras Desk's Michel Marizco has reported on extensively. 

Fast and Furious was an operation that backfired. It was run by agents in the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Agents allowed smugglers to buy about 2,000 firearms, intending to trace the weapons and capture high-level traffickers. Agents lost track of the firearms and at least some are believed to be in the hands of the very criminals the operation was meant to capture.

Many of the weapons have been discovered at crimes scenes on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, including at a shooting that killed a U.S. border agent in 2010.

The shootout in Puerto Peñasco, also called Rocky Point by tourists from the United States, left at least five suspected cartel gunmen dead, including possibly a high-level Sinaloa cartel chief.

Witnesses reported hours of shooting and grenade explosions, with Mexican authorities using helicopters to attack fleeing suspected cartel hitmen on the ground.

Guns from Fast and Furious have turned up at other high-profile killings in Mexico, including those of the brother of a Mexican state prosecutor and of a beauty queen.

The operation gave rise to more than a year of political controversy for the Justice Department.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) led a congressional investigation to find out how it came to be approved.

House Republicans sanctioned U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt in a dispute over a refusal to turn over documents.

A report by investigators at the Justice Department cleared Holder of wrongdoing, instead blaming the ATF and the Phoenix U.S. attorney's office for failing to oversee the agents running the operation.