In a sign of the cost of widespread U.S. weapons smuggling into Mexico, federal law enforcement sources confirmed that two guns, part of a series of purchases that were being monitored by authorities, were found at the scene of the firefight that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona, reports the Los Angeles Times. Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to monitor adequately the movement of the guns toward the southern border, in part because current laws and low levels of staffing.
The disclosure comes amid a widening congressional investigation into allegations lodged by whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They allege the agency has been aware of the purchase of assault weapons in the U.S. by buyers suspected of selling across the border, but failed to track them adequately. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, has asked the bureau for detailed answers about its gun smuggling investigation, known as Project Gunrunner. Grassley said there are “serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy.”