Government watchdog Judicial Watch said Thursday documents it obtained show an AK-47 rifle used in a gang-style assault in Phoenix last year was part of the Department of Justice's botched Fast and Furious gunrunning operation.
In a statement,
the group noted Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley and California Republican Rep. Darryl Issa wrote to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, blasting the department for not providing Congress or the public with any information about the weapon.
Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Issa is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
"Based on the serial number [1977DX1654] from the police report obtained by Judicial
Watch and documents obtained during our Fast and Furious investigation, we can
confirm that the assault rifle recovered in the vehicle on July 30, 2013, was purchased by
Sean Christopher Stewart," the lawmakers wrote.
During the controversial operation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allowed weapons from the United States to pass into the hands of gun smugglers so they could be traced to Mexican drug cartels. But instead, the release triggered violence that could be traced back to those weapons, critics charge.
The lawmakers noted Stewart bought the rifle Dec. 8, 2009 – one of 40 he bought "that day while under ATF surveillance."
"According to the Phoenix Police Department report, ATF traced the firearm on July 31, 2013, the day after Phoenix police officers recovered it. Yet, over a full year has passed, and the department has failed to notify the Committees," the lawmakers charged.
The Phoenix police reports were obtained by Judicial Watch in a lawsuit filed against the city of Phoenix.
"Thanks to our lawsuit, Congress has been able to confirm what Judicial Watch already reported – that a Fast and Furious weapon was used in yet another violent crime that terrorized and injured residents of Phoenix,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
"Our lawsuit against Phoenix exposed how the Obama cover-up of Fast and Furious is ongoing. Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is a mess. It has endangered the public and is engaged in an ongoing cover-up of its insanely reckless Fast and Furious gun-running operation. Judicial Watch appreciates the refreshing diligence of Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa in pursuing the truth about Fast and Furious.”
The letter from Grassley and Issa also details that during his time as a gun trafficker for Mexican cartels, Stewart was able to buy over $176,000 worth of weapons, including 260 Ak-47s, 20 9mm pistols and a .50 caliber rifle.
He's now serving nine years on federal charges.
According to Town Hall,
the lawmakers want Justice to answer questions by the end of the month, including whether the rifle recovered was connected with any other crimes in Mexico or the United States, and what is the total number of weapons associated with Fast and Furious that have been recovered in the United States and successfully traced.
Cole announced his resignation
from the Department of Justice Thursday.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.