Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mexican drug cartels got their hands on 64,000 weapons from United States, Justice Dept. official tells Congress

That was the testimony today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer before a congressional committee. Breuer heads the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department, and appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in Washington.

The committee is investigating two now defunct secret arms sales programs which were conducted by federal agencies. In the Fast and Furious program, the government permitted 2,500 assault weapons to be sold to Mexican drug criminals from locations in Arizona between 2009 and early 2011. A similar program, Wide Receiver, lasted from 2006 to 2007. Breuer told legislators today that former president George W. Bush knew about Wide Receiver, and authorized the transfer of 350 weapons to Mexican drug gangs. The purpose of both programs was to monitor the use of the military grade firearms, and track cartel movements via hidden GPS chips imbedded in the guns.

Fast and Furious was operated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Wide Receiver by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF). The existence of both programs was revealed earlier this year, and set off a firestorm of controversy in the United States and Mexico. Both president Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, have denied knowledge of either program until recent months.

Under questioning by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D. Calif), Breuer admitted that of the 94,000 weapons seized by Mexican authorities since Calderón's offensive against the drug cartels began in December 2006, at least 64,000 could be traced directly to the United States, and perhaps more. That number represents 68%, but the Mexican government has said that 80% of all firearms it seizes from drug traffickers come from the United States.

"We need more tools to stop these people who buy arms. We need to stop the flow." Breuer called for laws which will require arms dealers to notify ATF of multiple purchases of military grade weapons by a single purchaser, or in consecutive transactions.

Sept. 20, 2012 - U.S. Inspector General files Fast and Furious Report

Previous reports on Fast and Furious: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/at-least-200-died-from-fast-and-furious.html;
and: < http://mexicogulfreporter-supplement.blogspot.com/2011/11/two-us-officials-quit-over-fast-and.html;
and: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/can-guns-really-walk-from-us-to-mexico.html;
and: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/us-attorney-general-in-cross-hairs-over.html;
and: ; http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/obama-will-stand-by-his-man-even-though.html.

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