At least five Romanian-made AK-47-style assault rifles purchased by suspects being traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were found in a stash of weapons in Mexico, Evan Perez reports in a front-page story for the Wall Street Journal.Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has announced two hearings on ATF’s “Project Gunrunner” and “Fast and Furious” scheduled for next week. A Wednesday hearing will feature Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the mother, sister and cousin of Brian Terry, a border patrol agent whose death has been linked to criminals using weapons that were supposed to have been traced by ATF. Justice Department official Ronald Weich will also be testifying.
Issa has accused the Justice Department of stonewalling his investigation into how the guns were allowed to flow into Mexico. He’s also scheduled a hearing for Monday which will focus on the constitutional questions raised by DOJ’s “refusal to comply with a Congressional subpoena as well as the withholding of documents from a Congressional subpoena.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mexican police raided a home in Ciudad Juarez and reported finding a gun stash that included “two dozen AK-47-style rifles, three antiaircraft machine guns, dozens of grenades and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition.” Perez reports:
U.S. authorities have identified at least five Romanian-made AK-47-style rifles as having been purchased in the U.S. by suspects the ATF was tracking in the Fast and Furious operation. Documents from the ATF’s National Tracing Center detail the makes and serial numbers of the firearms, their recovery in Mexico, and dates in 2009 and 2010 when the ATF entered them into a database of suspect guns.
A Justice Department Inspector General report had criticized ATF for going after small-time straw purchasers instead of major gun traffickers, but it also found that weak U.S. gun laws made ATF’s job difficult. Fast and Furious was believed to have been organized to respond to criticisms that ATF’s Project Gunrunner was only netting small time buyers.