On Sunday, Mexican prosecutors said they have charged seven individuals in the infamous “Fast and Furious” weapons trafficking scandal. Among those charged in the more than decade old case were former top police official Genaro Garcia Luna and former drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
“Fast and Furious” was and investigation in which agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sold guns to criminals with the intention of tracking the weapons.
The plan went horribly wrong, and the agency lost most of the guns, including two guns that were found at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry who was murdered In December of 2010.
Terry’s murder exposed the bungled investigation. Fox News reports Mexico says drug gangs and former officials also participated in or failed to stop the weapons trafficking. Garcia Luna was arrested in Texas in 2019 for allegedly protecting a drug gang.
Luna was security chief in President Felipe Calderon’s 2006-2012 administration, and was also tasked with being the leader of the government’s fight against organized crime. Also charged was former Federal Police commander Luis Cardenas Palomino, who was the right-hand man of Garcia Luna.
Palomino was already arrested on charges of torture and U.S. prosecutors have separately accused him of accepting millions in bribes from the Sinaloa cartel, reports Fox News. Drug lord ‘El Chapo’ was also charged with weapons trafficking, but is already serving a life sentence in Colorado.
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U.S. House Votes to Permanently Freeze $6 Billion Iranian Funds Amid Hostage Exchange Controversy
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to permanently freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds that were initially slated for release by the Biden administration as part of a hostage exchange with Tehran earlier this year. The measure passed in a 307-119 vote, with the majority of Republicans supporting it, according to The Hill. Notably, Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie was the sole Republican dissenting voice, aligning with 118 Democrats.
The frozen funds, originally held in South Korea, were part of a deal where Seoul committed to paying Iran for oil before the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2019. Subsequently, these funds were transferred to Qatar as part of the exchange. However, in the aftermath of an Oct. 7 Hamas raid on Israel, where more than 200 hostages were seized and around 1,200 civilians were killed, both Qatar and the U.S. agreed to refreeze the funds.
The decision to permanently freeze the funds reflects the growing controversy surrounding the hostage exchange and the broader implications of releasing substantial financial resources to Iran. Tehran’s support for Hamas and its proxies’ heightened hostilities in the Middle East have contributed to the contentious nature of this issue.
As the legislation progresses, it further underscores the complex dynamics in the region and the United States’ response to Iran’s involvement in activities that destabilize the Middle East. The vote outcome signals a bipartisan stance on this matter, with implications for U.S.-Iran relations and the ongoing challenges of navigating geopolitical complexities.
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