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Latino Daily News

Friday July 1, 2011

House Committee Continues Investigation of Cartels’ Ability to Obtain U.S. Weapons

House Committee Continues Investigation of Cartels’ Ability to Obtain U.S. Weapons

Photo: House Committee Continues Investigation of Cartels' Ability to Obtain U.S. Weapons

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The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is currently investigating how Mexico’s drug cartels seem to be easily obtaining military-grade weapons from the United States.

In a recent congressional report titled “Outgunned” it is stated that illegal weapons trafficking from the U.S. is a major problem as the weapons being brought to Mexico are fueling the frightening drug war ravaging Mexico and other Central and South American countries.

A recent operation called “Fast and Furious” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was meant to track where weapons bought on behalf of illegal operations end up.

According to the El Paso Times, “Fast and Furious” allowed “a person to buy a weapon on behalf of someone who could not and then trace where the weapon went, but many weapons were lost during tracking and wound up in the hands of organized criminals to kill or kidnap people.”

Two of those weapons were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agents Brian Terry’s slaying in Arizona.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes from Texas was in Mexico on June 24 - 25 to speak with the both Mexican and U.S. officials about what strategy is needed to stop illegally weapons trafficking, especially to Mexico.

“This is an issue of particular concern to me and my constituents who have witnessed, and in many circumstances been directly impacted by, the incessant violence in our sister-city Ciudad Juárez,” He added, “As the owner of multiple firearms myself, I value my Second Amendment rights, but we must strike a balance between the need to respect gun ownership rights and the need for sensible measures to meet the current security challenges confronting the United States and Mexico.”

Ranking member of the committee, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, said in the report that an agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement was allegedly killed with a Romarm-Cugir Draco which “has the same firing capacity as the AK-47, can hold a 75-round drum magazine, and can penetrate protective vests.”

Reyes testified for the House committee, saying, “As a result of legislation favored by the (National Rifle Association) and passed by Congress, our agents are prohibited from inputting gun ownership information into a computerized database that would find records quickly and efficiently when tracing a firearm.

“Clearly, we are relying on antiquated methods to fight an evasive enemy. But, sadly, the greatest obstacles hindering our ability to confront these challenges are the result of our own creation.”

Gun-rights advocacy group, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, released a statement saying that the Cummings committee has a singular goal of deflecting public attention away from the Justice Department’s horrible mishandling of a gunrunning sting that has flooded Mexico with guns.”

Alan Gottlieb, Bear Arms chairman, went on to say that “‘Operation Fast and Furious’ is a product of the Obama administration, and Cummings is running interference for the White House and Attorney General Eric Holder.

“The real culprits here are the ATF officials and people in the Justice Department who either approved this operation or knew about it and allowed it to happen, and everybody knows it.”