Politics
Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez  

Mexican shootout that killed beauty queen linked to Fast and Furious

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Another gun sent to Mexico under the White House’s “Fast and Furious” program has been found beside a murdered Mexican, just as the White House prepares to launch a large-scale political campaign built on the Dec. 14 massacre of 26 Americans in Newtown, Conn.

The dead Mexican, Maria Gamez, was killed in a shootout Nov. 23 shootout between cops and drug-runners. The incident made headlines because a Mexican beauty queen was killed in the exchange of fire. Though Maria Susana Flores Gamez reportedly had a gun in her hand, police said she was likely used as a human shield when the men in the car she was traveling in pushed her out in front of them.

More than 150 Mexicans have been killed or wounded by the Fast and Furious guns, according to Humbert Benitez Trevino, a former attorney general of Mexico.

U.S. officials had allowed the gun — a Romanian-built AK-47-knockoff, dubbed a WASR-10 — to be bought in the U.S. and illegally transported by criminals into Mexico, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told CBS.

Under the Fast and Furious program, Department of Justice officials allowed more than 1,400 guns to be bought in the U.S. and transported south to drug-gangs, including the murderous Sinaloa Cartel.

Critics say the program was intended by top-level officials to smear U.S. gun-sellers as reckless supporters of the cartels, and boost the administration’s plans for gun-control legislation.

Several mid-level and senior officials in the Justice Department have been fired or quit following GOP-led investigations of the program.

White House officials deny any role in the scandal. Since the scandal broke, the White House hadn’t pusheded gun control.

But following the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six unarmed adults in Newtown, the president decided to focus attention on guns.

There “can’t be an excuse for inaction,” Obama told attendees at a Dec. 16 memorial service for victims of the shooting. “If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown — and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.”

On Dec. 18, White House spokesman Jay Carney announced that Obama met with Attorney General Eric Holder on Dec. 17 to plan a political campaign against gun-related violence.

Along with Holder, Obama met with the secretaries of the education and of health and human services.

The meeting, Carney said, “underscores the comprehensive way in which the president views this problem.”

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