TUCSON, Ariz. -- The first of the defendants at the heart of the failed gunwalking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious has been sentenced to prison.
A federal judge sentenced Danny Cruz Morones to nearly five years in prison for his part in the 20-man gunbuying operation. The gunrunners would buy the weapons at a Phoenix gun store and then smuggle them into Mexico. Unknown to the gunrunners, federal agents were quietly monitoring the buys but allowing the sales and the trafficking to go through.
Morones' trial was carried out in San Diego. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona had to recuse itself from the strawbuyer case after two of those guns were discovered at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were largely held responsible for the Fast and Furious operation.
Records show that the Mexican Army caught Morones with four AK-47 rifles as he tried to Tijuana. He admitted to helping smuggle another six. Another 19 defendants await sentencing.