(CBS News) — Weapons linked to ATF’s controversial “Fast and Furious” operation have been tied to at least eight violent crimes in Mexico including three murders, four kidnappings and an attempted homicide.
According to a letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the disclosed incidents may be only a partial list of violent crimes linked to Fast and Furious weapons because “ATF has not conducted a comprehensive independent investigation.”
When added to the guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the U.S., the newly-revealed murders in Mexico bring the total number of deaths linked to Fast and Furious to four.
According to the Justice Department letter:
One AK-47 type assault rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered Nov. 14, 2009 in Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexico after the Mexican military rescued a kidnap victim.
On July 1, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious suspects were recovered in Sonora, Mexico after a shootout between cartels. Two murders were reported in the incident using the weapons.
On July 26, 2010, a giant .50 caliber Barrett rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered in Durango, Mexico after apparently having been fired. No further details of the incident were given.
On Aug. 13, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by a Fast and Furious target were recovered in Durango, Mexico after a confrontation between the Mexican military and an “armed group.”
On Nov. 14, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious targets were recovered in Chihuahua, Mexico after “the kidnapping of two individuals and the murder of a family member of a Mexican public official.” Sources tell CBS News they believe this is a reference to a case we previously reported on: the terrorist kidnapping, torture and murder of Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the brother of then-attorney general Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez. The terrorists released video of Rodriguez before his death, in handcuffs surrounded by hooded gunmen.
On May 27, 2011, three AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious targets were recovered in Jalisco, Mexico after having been fired. No other details of the incident were provided, but the date and location match with another incident previously reported by CBS News. On May 27 near Jalisto, cartel members fired upon a Mexican government helicopter, forcing it to make an emergency landing. According to one law enforcement source, 29 suspected cartel members were killed in the attack.