Barack Obama and Eric Holder are doubtlessly grateful that virtually everyone, including the mainstream media, has turned the Fast and Furious page and moved on to more recent White House Administration scandals. But, the human carnage continues to mount.
A Los Angeles Times investigation uncovered Justice Department documentation of the assassination Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the Police Chief of Hostotipaquillo in the west-central Mexican state of Jalisco, who "was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire." Also killed was one of Astorga's bodyguards. The Chief's wife and another bodyguard were also wounded.
Eight suspects were apprehended shortly after the shootout along with "rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region," according to theLA Times. The rifle used to kill Chief Astorga was traced back to the ATF Fast and Furious "gunwalking" scandal. According to the published report:
A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL– KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.”
The Mexican government says 211 people have been killed or wounded by weapons traced to the 2009-2010 Fast and Furious operation. Specific to the weapon used in the murder of Chief Astorga, theLA Timesreports:
The WASR used in Jalisco was purchased on Feb. 22, 2010, about three months into the Fast and Furious operation, by 26-year-old Jacob A. Montelongo of Phoenix. He later pleaded guilty to conspiracy, making false statements and smuggling goods from the United States and was sentenced to 41 months in prison.
Court records show Montelongo personally obtained at least 109 firearms during Fast and Furious. How the WASR ended up in the state of Jalisco, which is deep in central Mexico and includes the country’s second-largest metropolis, Guadalajara, remained unclear.
After the shooting in Jalisco, local officials said some of the suspects confessed to two other shootouts in the area, including one that left seven people dead, all part of the continuing feud by rival cartel members.