The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration has acknowledged to congressional investigators that her agency provided a supporting role in the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious run by their counterparts at the ATF, reports the Los Angeles Times. Michele M. Leonhart, the agency administrator, said DEA agents primarily helped gather evidence for cases in Phoenix and El Paso, and for the program’s single indictment last January that netted 20 defendants for illegal gun trafficking.
The development marked the first time another law enforcement agency besides the federal ATF said it worked on Fast and Furious cases. The ATF is under two investigations into why it allowed at least 2,000 firearms to be illegally purchased and then lost track of the guns’ whereabouts. Nearly 200 of the weapons showed up at crime scenes in Mexico, and two semiautomatics were recovered after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was slain south of Tucson. Leonhart made the acknowledgment in a letter to U.S. Rep. Darreel Issa of California and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.