About 1,300 firearms, most of them AK-47 assault rifles, are unaccounted for since suspected Mexican drug cartel associates began purchasing the weapons along the border from licensed U.S. gun dealers in 2009 as part of the trafficking inquiry known as Operation Fast and Furious, reports USA Today. “There are a number of weapons in the illegal stream of commerce (from the operation) that may wash ashore,” said B. Todd Jones, the new interim director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency that launched the flawed investigation.
A scathing internal Justice Department report on a botched gun-trafficking investigation that allowed about 2,000 weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers is not likely to close the book on the scandal. Federal officials acknowledge that there are serious concerns about the hundreds of guns that have yet to be recovered by Mexican and U.S. authorities. An accounting of the weapons that are not recovered is listed deep inside a sweeping report issued Wednesday by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who found “serious failures” in oversight of the trafficking probe and recommended discipline for more than a dozen federal agents and prosecutors involved in the investigation.