While the presidential candidates debate the propriety of the government's gun smuggling investigation, "Operation Fast and Furious", one of the defendants snared in the operation was sentenced yesterday in federal court.
According to an Associated Press report, 24 year-old Danny Cruz Morones of Phoenix pled guilty to selling weapons without a license, making false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, and smuggling goods from the United States.
He was sentenced to four years and seven months in federal prison for his role in the gun smuggling scheme. Prosecutors contend that Morones was the "straw buyer" who attempted to obtain 27 AK-47s that would eventually be used by drug gangs.
Operation Fast and Furious has gained significant political traction as the election draws near, and mounting questions arise regarding the operation's successes (and failures). The debate centers on the "gun-walking" tactics used by federal agents. The AP reports that the government identified 2000 weapons that were illegally purchased, but federal agents wanted to track the weapons to higher-ups in drug cartels in an attempt to dismantle the network. However, authorities had lost track of a number of weapons. Since the operation had been shut down, more than 1400 guns had yet to be recovered.
Nevertheless, Congress is seeking more information on the operation. President Obama has invoked executive privilege and has not complied with Congress' production demands. Attorney General Eric Holder has been found in contempt for refusing to produce records regarding the operation, and House Republicans have initiated a lawsuit demanding that Holder comply.
Source: AZFamily.com, Phoenix man sentenced in 'Fast & Furious' case, October 16, 2012