Two AK-47 assault rifles purchased by a man later arrested in a federal gunrunning investigation turned up at the scene of a fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in December, reports the Washington Post. Whistleblowers allege that federal agents allowed guns, including the AK-47s, to be sold to suspected straw buyers who transported the weapons throughout the region and into Mexico. Law enforcement investigators have not concluded whether either of the guns was used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Terry, 40, was killed in a gun battle Dec. 14 near Tucson. He was part of an elite Border Patrol team that had been patrolling a canyon frequented by bandits who ambush and rob illegal immigrants. Four men were arrested, but no one has been charged in the killing. A fifth man eluded police. The AK-47s have become part of a multi-agency federal investigation of a border crackdown on firearms known as Project Gunrunner. The agent’s death led one member of Congress to criticize Project Gunrunner and has also roiled officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who are fighting to save funding for the program.