A Mexican judge issued seven arrest warrants on Sunday linked to the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal, when U.S. federal officials allowed around 2,000 firearms to be trafficked into Mexico.
The Mexican attorney general’s office announced the warrants Sunday, naming three of the targets, including drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
The other two targets named were Genaro García Luna, who served as Public Security secretary under former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and Luis Cárdenas Palomino, a close collaborator of García Luna’s and former head of intelligence for Mexico’s now-defunct Federal Police.
Guzmán and García Luna are both imprisoned in the United States; García Luna is awaiting trial on charges of receiving bribes from Guzmán, while Guzmán is serving a life sentence for crimes committed as head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel.
Cárdenas is under arrest in Mexico, accused of having obtained confessions through torture in a high-profile kidnapping case.
The Mexican attorney general office’s statement did not say whether it would seek the extradition of Guzmán, who has twice escaped high-security prisons in Mexico.
But it said Mexican judges have issued two other outstanding warrants for García Luna, prompting requests for his extradition to Mexico.
García Luna led Mexico’s police under Calderón, a bitter political rival of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Under Calderón, Mexican authorities increased their collaboration with U.S. authorities as violence between rival cartels and the Mexican state ramped up.
The sting operations that eventually came to be known as Fast and Furious, led by the Arizona U.S. attorney’s office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, started in 2006, the same year Calderón took office and appointed García Luna.
The operations were intended to allow U.S. agents to track illicit guns in Mexico to cartel leaders; most of the guns were lost without any successful related prosecutions of cartel heads.
The operation came to public light after two of the guns bought as part of Fast and Furious were found at the scene of a shootout where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fatally shot in 2010.