‘Fast & Furious’ gun-runner sentenced in San Diego
Associated Press | October 16, 2012
SAN DIEGO—A defendant in the government’s botched gun-smuggling investigation, known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” was sentenced to four years and seven months in federal prison for helping supply assault weapons to Mexican drug gangs.
Danny Cruz Morones, who appeared in court Monday, was the first of 20 defendants to be sentenced in connection with the operation, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The 24-year-old Phoenix man was accused of acting as an illegal “straw buyer” to obtain 27 AK-47s in Arizona that were destined for drug gangs. He also recruited two other people who bought 69 guns, prosecutors contended.
Morones pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to deal in firearms without a license, making false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, smuggling goods from the U.S. and selling guns without a license.
The case and others were transferred to San Diego after the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix recused itself, citing ties to the local Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office.
Under the ATF office in Phoenix was the base for Operation Fast and Furious. Federal agents allowed Morones and others to leave gun shops with the illegally purchased weapons because they wanted to track them to higher-ups and dismantle the network, a tactic known as “gun-walking.”
Photo credit: LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images
Tags: AK-47s, assault weapons, Danny Cruz Morones, gun-walking, Mexican drug gangs, Operation Fast and Furious, PHOENIX, san diego, straw buyer