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Arizona Sheriffs Blast Gun-Smuggling Operation, Ask for criminal probe into "Fast and Furious"

  1. Arizona Sheriffs Blast Gun-Smuggling Operation

Ask for criminal probe into "Fast and Furious"

Updated: Friday, 07 Oct 2011, 5:19 PM MST
Published : Friday, 07 Oct 2011, 7:43 AM MST

PHOENIX - Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu joined other elected sheriffs in Arizona at a press conference Friday morning in Phoenix.

They demanded the truth from the federal government about operation "Fast and Furious."

The sheriffs asked for a special council to conduct a criminal investigation into what really happened during and after the failed operation, which gave guns to Mexico.

They believe the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Attorney General Eric Holder bungled the operation and then tried to cover it up.

This week, Holder said that he had just found out about the controversial operation, but those inside the justice department said that he knew months ago.

The ATF hoped to use the guns to track drug cartel activities in Mexico and along the border.

Some 2,000 guns were sent there, but about 1,400 guns are still unaccounted for.

"In law enforcement, this is unacceptable -- the fact that our own government has given weapons -- some of these weapons not only semi-automatic, some transitioned to fully automatic, and .50 caliber rifles -- rifles my deputies and our deputies don't even have on the street, and they put them into the hands of the criminals that we're fighting," Babeu said.

The sheriffs said they want Holder to be held accountable for the lost law enforcement lives in Arizona and Mexico.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio did not attend the news conference.

Also missing was Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

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