Mexican lawmakers said Tuesday they want the U.S. officials who authorized a botched campaign to dismantle illicit firearms trafficking routes to face trial in Mexico.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) “Operation Fast and Furious” sold thousands of assault rifles and revolvers to traffickers suspected of being linked to Mexican drug cartels.
The operation’s goal was to unearth and dismantle illicit firearms trafficking routes between the U.S. and Mexico by tracking the weapons, but officials poorly monitored their movement and the majority of the weapons went missing.
The firearms eventually began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico and the southern United States.
“I obviously feel violated,” Mexico Sen. Rene Arce Islas told Fox News. “I feel my country’s sovereignty was violated. They should be tried in the United States and the Mexican government should also demand that they also be tried in Mexico since the incidents took place here. There should be trials in both places.”
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said he could not comment on the incident because of an ongoing investigation, but said that President Barack Obama takes it “very seriously.”
Obama has said neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder had approved the operation and that “appropriate actions” would be taken after the investigation is complete.
“I think we should at least try to prove that what happened in Mexico must be sanctioned by Mexican laws and under our sovereignty,” another Mexican lawmaker, Sen. Santiago Creel, told Fox.
“What can’t happen is that this now ends on an administrative sanction, or a resignation,” he added. “No, no, no. Human lives were lost here. A decision was made to carry out an operation that brought very high risk to human lives.”