Mexico charges 7 in botched ‘Fast and Furious’ weapons trafficking operation

Border Crime

In this Jan. 25, 2011, file photo, part of a cache of seized weapons displayed at a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ATF news conference in Phoenix. Two men were charged with murder in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent that revealed the bungled gun-smuggling investigation known as Fast and Furious. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican prosecutors said Sunday they have charged seven people, including former top officials, in the “Fast and Furious” weapons trafficking scandal.

The December 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry exposed the bungled “Fast and Furious” investigation, in which agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed criminals to buy guns with the intention of tracking the weapons.

But the agency lost most of the guns, including two that were found at the scene of Terry’s death in southern Arizona. The U.S. government has heavily pursued prosecution of the men involved in the killing.

Mexico says Mexican drug gangs and former officials also participated in or failed to stop the trafficking of weapons.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said Sunday it has lodged weapons trafficking charges against seven people in the more-than-decade-old case, including the country’s former top police official, Genaro Garcia Luna, and former drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Garcia Luna was arrested in Texas in 2019 and currently faces trial in the U.S. for allegedly protecting a drug gang. Mexico has asked for his extradition to face charges of illegal enrichment.

García Luna served as security chief in President Felipe Calderón’s 2006-2012 administration and was the leader of the government’s fight against organized crime.

Also charged was former Federal Police commander Luis Cardenas Palomino, who was considered the right-hand man of García Luna. Mexico already arrested Cardenas Palomino on charges of torture, and U.S. prosecutors have separately accused him of accepting millions in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel.

Mexico also charged Guzman in the weapons trafficking case, but he is already serving a life sentence in Colorado.

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