Fast and Furious, El Chapo
Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP/NPR

Fox News has reported that federal officials found a .50-caliber rifle linked to the failed gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious at Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout in Mexico.

The drug lord escaped from prison last year before being found on January 8th at a hideout in Los Mochis, Mexico. The ensuing shootout killed five men and wounded one Mexican marine. A number of weapons, including the .50-caliber rifle, were found at the scene.

Fox reports:

“When agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives checked serial numbers of the eight weapons found in his possession, they found one of the two .50-caliber weapons traced back to the ATF program, sources said. 

Federal officials told Fox News they are not sure how many of the weapons seized from Guzman’s house actually originated in the U.S. and where they were purchased, but are investigating.

Out of the roughly 2,000 weapons sold through Fast and Furious, 34 were .50-caliber rifles that can take down a helicopter, according to officials.”

Operation Fast and Furious was a program in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) knowingly sold guns to Mexican drug cartels.

According to a report in the LA Times:

“The term ‘gun walking’ is central to the failure of Fast and Furious. Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them. But they lost track of more than 2,000 weapons, and the Mexican government says some of them have turned up at about 170 crime scenes there.”

The program led to arrests of smaller criminals, but up to this point no cartel leaders have been arrested. Instead, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry lost his life, along with hundreds of Mexican citizens on the border. These deaths can be traced directly to weapons sold under Fast and Furious.

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It should also be noted that as recently as January 2014 El Chapo was reported to have some sort of partnership with the U.S. government. Business Insider reported:

“An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.

There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.”

Despite attempts by the Obama Administration and former Attorney General Eric Holder to silence the truth about Fast and Furious, details have emerged. Before leaving office, Holder was found in contempt by the House of Representatives for his refusal to hand over documents related to the operation. These documents likely indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder knew more than he admitted while under oath.

On June 20, 2012 President Obama used executive privilege to keep the documents from the public. Just last week, a federal judge ruled that Obama cannot use executive privilege to keep those records secret from Congress.

According to heavily redacted emails, Holder was told about Fast and Furious in memos in July, October and November 2010. However, on March 10th, 2011, Holder testified before a Senate subcommittee that he had just learned about the Fast and Furious gun-walking allegations.

According to documents obtained by N4T, the ATF was not accurate in its assessment that the Fast and Furious program was only active in Phoenix, Arizona. N4T reports that weapons from a gunstore used by the ATF have been found in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Hermosillo, Mexico.  The weapons were stolen in October 2010, two months before Fast and Furious weapons were found at the death of Brian Terry, from the Lone Wolf Trading Company gun store in Glendale, Arizona.