Guns from ATF Sting Linked to 11 More Violent Crime Scenes, La Times Reports

atf file photo
By Allan Lengel

More damaging news about ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious.

The Los Angeles Times reports that weapons from the troubled operation have surfaced at at least 11 violent crime scenes, and the one in which Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed last year.

The Times reported that the Justice Department made the acknowledgement in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes Sen. Chuck Grassley, a major critic of the program.  The Times reported that the guns surfaced in several Arizona cities including Phoenix and in El Paso, where 42 weapons were seized at two crime scenes.

Operation Fast and Furious has stirred a big controversy. Congressional investigators and the Inspector General’s Office have been looking into the program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell weapons to middlemen or straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing them to the Mexican cartels.

ATF lost track of many of the guns.

The letter, signed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich, and obtained by the LA Times also suggested that ATF Director Ken Melson “likely became aware” of the operation as early as December 2009, a month after it began.” Melson has said he did not learn about details of the pperation was run until January of this year, when it was canceled, the Times wrote.

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