One of the guns that was allowed to walk across the Mexico border in "Operation Fast and Furious" was recovered in Tijuana and found to be connected to a drug cartel's conspiracy to kill the police chief of Tijuana, Baja California, who later became the Juarez police chief, according to a report released by the U.S. government.
The firearm was found on Feb. 25, 2010, during the arrest of cartel members associated with Teodoro "El Teo" Garcia Simental and Raydel "El Muletas" Lopez Uriarte, associates of Mexico's powerful Sinaloa Cartel, the El Paso Times reports in an article that draws information from an initial report from Breitbart News' Mary Chastain.
In March 2010, Tijuana police said they arrested four suspects in connection with a plot to assassinate the police chief, Julian Leyzaola. The suspects allegedly confessed to planning to murder Leyzaola on orders from the leadership within the Tijuana Cartel.
The men had a significant cache of weapons and ammunition, and one of the guns was traced back to the failed federal gun-walking operation infamously known as Fast and Furious.
Leyzaola, a retired Mexican army officer, was reportedly targeted for death multiple times while he attempted to assert control over the city of Tijuana, a city in shambles due to ongoing cartel violence and turf battles. He became the Juarez police chief in March 2011, where more than 10,000 people have been killed by drug related violence.
More from the El Paso Times:
On July 31, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a 2,359-page report titled "Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation," based on numerous interviews from hearings, and reviews of more than 10,000 pages of documents.
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley led the investigation into the ATF's operation that ended abruptly after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December 2010, and two weapons traced to Fast and Furious were found near Terry's body in the Arizona desert.
Officials said bandits preying on immigrant and drug smugglers fired on Terry, who first shot at the bandits with only bean bags.
The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General plans to issue a separate report within weeks on Fast and Furious.
In addition to Terry and Leyzaola, Fast and Furious-traced weapons also were connected to a drug cartel cell in Chihuahua state that kidnapped and murdered the brother of ex-Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez, as well as to crime scenes in Juárez and other places in Mexico.
Under the ATF operation, about 2,000 firearms purchased at U.S. stores by straw buyers were allowed to walk across the border. The ATF's goal was to dismantle an arms-trafficking network by identifying and arresting its leaders.
Hundreds of the operation-monitored firearms are unaccounted for, and legislative investigators speculate that more people could be killed on either side of the border with these weapons.
Mexico's national investigative magazine , "Proceso," reported last month that a Mexican lawyer and law experts in the United States are preparing to sue the ATF over Fast and Furious, however, no lawsuit has been filed yet.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder revealed his office does not plan on releasing anymore documents relating to Fast and Furious. The DOJ argues doing so may compromise ongoing investigations.