Mexico issues arrest warrants in 'Fast and Furious' gun trafficking case

The once-secret 'Fast and Furious' scheme set out to stop US-Mexico gun smuggling by allowing people to illegally buy arms in the United States and take them to Mexico.

US Attorney General Eric Holder testifies during a hearing on "Oversight of the Justice Department" held by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 8, 2011. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)
US Attorney General Eric Holder testifies during a hearing on "Oversight of the Justice Department" held by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 8, 2011.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

A Mexican judge has issued seven arrest warrants related to a decade-old cross-border arms trafficking sting, including for the country's most notorious drug lord and an ex-security minister, the attorney general's office said on Sunday.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the convicted Sinaloa cartel boss, ex-Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna and former federal police intelligence official Luis Cardenas, were named in a Sunday statement from the attorney general's office linked to the so-called "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal from 2009-2011.

All three, however, are currently behind bars in either the United States or Mexico.

The attorney general's office did not respond to written questions seeking additional information on the new arrest warrants, including whether or not the Mexican government will seek to extradite Guzman, currently serving a life sentence in US federal prison.

The statement noted that Garcia Luna, Mexico's security minister from 2006-2012 who was charged by US authorities in late 2019 with drug trafficking, now faces two arrest warrants issued by Mexican judges that have triggered an extradition request for him.

Recaptured drug lord Joaquin ''El Chapo'' Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico, January 8, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/HENRY ROMERO/FILE PHOTO)Recaptured drug lord Joaquin ''El Chapo'' Guzman is escorted by soldiers at the hangar belonging to the office of the Attorney General in Mexico City, Mexico, January 8, 2016. (credit: REUTERS/HENRY ROMERO/FILE PHOTO)

The once-secret "Fast and Furious" scheme set out to stop US-Mexico gun smuggling by allowing people to illegally buy arms in the United States and take them to Mexico so that the weapons could be tracked and lead law enforcement officials to drug cartel leaders.

But some of the weapons were later blamed for gangland slayings in Mexico and set off bitter cross-border recriminations over the operation.

"We have been informed that US authorities have been charged with investigating and holding responsible public officials in that country," the statement added, but without going into further detail.