With budget-trimming all the buzz in Washington D.C., maybe the Justice Department was really just ahead of the curve with respect to how they executed Fast and Furious. Traditional inside-the-box thinking would have had ATF wasting needless man-hours in actually tracking weapons sold to straw buyers and, in turn, handed over to violent Mexican drug cartels. Fast and Furious, however, employed a unique manpower-saving technique by not tracking those weapons and instead left that job for the Mexican government... somewhat after the fact.
Mexican authorities have arrested a reputed enforcer for the country's most powerful drug cartel -- a man also alleged to have amassed weapons from the U.S. government's failed Fast and Furious gun-smuggling operation (link, in Spanish, includes video).
Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, 33, is also wanted by U.S. officials on drug-trafficking charges in El Paso. Mexican and U.S. authorities say he served as a top lieutenant to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel and was in charge of operations in the border state of Chihuahua (link in Spanish).
It was there, in the violent city of Ciudad Juarez, that a raid by Mexican police in April 2011 turned up high-powered assault guns purchased illegally through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives "Fast and Furious" program. As the Washington Bureau's Richard A. Serrano reported last fall, the discovery confirmed that Fast and Furious weapons were reaching the ruthless Sinaloa organization and that the geographic spread of the "walked" guns was wider than originally thought.
"Failed"... "Botched"... There they go again. It's a shame that ATF and the Justice Department aren't getting the credit they deserve for a wildly successful multi-agency operation that we are now finding out was the very organizational epitome of "lean" as well.
We assume their thinking is that one dead U.S. Border Patrol agent and a few hundred dead Mexicans is a small price to pay for this bit of forward-thinking excellence.