A Boarder Patrol officer stands near his truck as he checks the fence along the boarder between the United States and Mexico in Nogalas, Arizona, December 15, 2011. UPI /Art Foxall | License Photo
WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- The failed U.S. gun-tracking plan called Fast and Furious showed an "outstanding lack of understanding" of criminal operations, Mexico's U.S. ambassador said.
Arturo Sarukhan said Thursday his government was left out of the loop about the operation designed to stop gun smuggling at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
He said his government was conducting its own official investigation into how about 2,000 U.S.-purchased firearms were taken across the border and found their way to drug cartels.
"Mexico was never apprised how the operation would be designed and implemented," Sarukhan said during a forum in Washington sponsored by the New Democrat Network, a center-left think tank and advocacy organization, and the New Policy Institute.
"Regardless of whether this was or was not the intent or the design of Fast and Furious, the thinking that you can let guns walk across the border and maintain operational control of those weapons is really an outstanding lack of understanding of how these criminal organizations are operating on both sides of our common borders," he said.
The Fast and Furious operation, run by the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, allowed illegal gun buys in Arizona to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders. About 1,700 guns vanished, many turning up later at crime scenes in Mexico.
Sarukhan stressed that the United States and Mexico should work together to prevent gun trafficking, the Times said.
"This has to be a dual process," he said. "We won't achieve too much if the only ones inspecting or looking for guns are Mexican customs."