At the time, Acosta Hernandez was at war with José Antonio Torres Marrufo, an enforcer — he reportedly once skinned an enemy’s face to make a soccer ball — close to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa cartel. When Mexican authorities captured Marrufo in February 2012, they found a cache of guns that included powerful anti-aircraft weapons, as well as firearms linked to Operation Fast and Furious.
According to Univision, Acosta Hernandez was behind another bloodbath involving Fast and Furious guns. On January 30, 2010, a commando unit of at least 20 hit men parked outside a house in Ciudad Juárez. A birthday party of high-school and college students was going on inside, but Hernandez mistakenly thought it was occupied by members of the Sinaloa cartel. Around midnight, his men broke into the house and opened fire on nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who tried to escape. When the hit men fled, they left 16 young people dead and twelve others wounded. Three of the weapons used that night were traced to Operation Fast and Furious. When Acosta Hernandez was finally captured in July 2010, with Fast and Furious weapons in his possession, he confessed to Mexican authorities that he was responsible for nearly 1,500 murders.
And, as if letting 2,000 high-powered guns “walk” were not enough, it appears that the Obama administration launched other gun-walking operations as well. According to Univision, “weapons from [Florida-based] Operation Castaway ended up in the hands of criminals in Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela.” And the inspector general’s report states that his office is investigating “at least one other ATF [operation] . . . that involves an individual suspected of transporting grenade components into Mexico, converting them into live grenades, and then supplying them to drug cartels.”
The Mexican government has every right to be furious about this matter. If foreign law-enforcement agents had let nearly 2,000 weapons be delivered into the hands of U.S. gang-bangers — without any notice to or coordination with the feds — there would be serious repercussions.
Operation Fast and Furious is a disaster and a disgrace. Univision and the inspector general deserve credit for attempting to get to the bottom of this mess.
— John G. Malcolm is a senior legal fellow at the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.