Photo: POLICE file art.
Arizona state law enforcement personnel have linked two weapons recovered after a pursuit to the botched Fast and Furious gun-smuggling operation.
The guns were recovered by the Arizona Department of Public Safety last year from the back of a stolen car. The driver had rammed two DPS vehicles, after fleeing into the Maricopa County desert on foot, reports the Arizona Republic.
The guns were traced to Operation Fast and Furious in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) deliberately put guns into the hands of Mexican cartels to try to track them.
This is the second time Fast-and-Furious guns have been recovered at a crime scene in the U.S. In December, two AK-47s from the initiative were recovered at the Rio Rico location where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fatally shot by smugglers. Guns in the operation have also been linked to the Los Zetas cartel members who ambushed and killed Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico.
A Glendale, Ariz., gun dealer who has been speaking out about the operation told the Los Angeles Times he was ordered by the ATF to sell the two AK-47s found in Rio Rico. Andre Howard, who owns the Lone Wolf Trading Company, was told to sell to every illegal purchaser who walks in the door.
Howard said he grew concerned that someone could get hurt due to the sales of weapons, which included .50-caliber sniper rifles. "Every passing week, I worried about something like that," he said. "I felt horrible and sick."
Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano have said publicly that they were unaware of the operation.
By Paul Clinton
Sources: Arizona Republic, Los Angeles Times.
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