Jan. 10 (UPI) — A Mexican judge has charged seven people for their involvement in the Operation Fast and Furious weapons scandal, the country’s attorney general’s office said.
Fast and Furious was a U.S. sting operation that began in 2009 involving some 2,000 illegally trafficked firearms from the United States to Mexico. According to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, many of these guns were trafficked to gunrunners and other criminals before U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents could arrest them and seize the contraband. Some of the weapons have since been used in violent crimes.
Mexico’s attorney general’s office said Sunday in a statement that arrest warrants for weapons trafficking were issued for former drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s former secretary of public security Genaro Garcia Luna and former high-ranking Mexican law enforcement official Luis Cardenas Palomino, among others who were not named.
“In Mexico and in accordance with its own investigation, and with data acquired in the corresponding preliminary investigations, it was established that these weapons were not only illegally introduced into the country, but have also been used in various criminal acts, which have already been investigated and prosecuted in Mexico,” the office said.
All of the suspects currently reside in prisons either in the United States or Mexico, the office said, such as El Chapo, the former head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, who is serving a life sentence at a Colorado Supermax prison.
Luna was arrested in Dallas in December of 2019 and is faces charges of continuing criminal enterprise, which comes with a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment.
And Palomino, who worked under Luna, has also been charged with drug trafficking by the U.S. Justice Department, and was arrested by Mexican authorities in July.
Mexico’s attorney general’s office said Sunday that there are two more arrest warrants issued by Mexican judges for Luna, “which have motivated the request for extradition to Mexican territory of that individual.”