CNN This is a look at Operation Fast and Furious. Between 2009 - 2011, the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ATF along with other partners allowed illegal gun sales to track the dealers and buyers, believed to be connected to Mexican drug cartels.
During the Fast and Furious investigation, nearly 2,000 firearms were illegally purchased for $1.5 million, according to a DOJ inspector general report. Hundreds of gun have since been recovered in the United States and Mexico.
Two of the weapons linked to Fast and Furious turned up near the scene of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona desert in 2010.
Whistleblowing has led to inquiries by the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During the House investigation, attorney-general Eric Holder was cited for contempt.
July 31, 2009 – ATF agents get a tip from a local shop about suspicious purchases of assault rifles by four individuals. The agents are investigating whether the individuals were large-scale illegal gun traffickers serving for a straw buyer organization. The probe later comes to be known as Operation Fast and Furious.
January 25, 2011 - The US Attorney's office in Arizona announces that 34 suspects have been indicted for firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico. The inspector general later reports that 20 of the defendants were caught via Fast and Furious.
January 27, 2011 - Senator Kenneth Melson of the Senate Judiciary Committee sends a letter to Chuck Grassley, acting director of the ATF, with regard to the agency's firearm trafficking investigation and allegations that the ATF allowed hundreds of assault weapons to be smuggled to Mexico. He notes that two of the guns may have been used by Terry's killers.
March 3, 2011 - Melson announces the formation of a committee to review the Bureau's current firearms trafficking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents. May 3, 2011 - Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. He says he has heard of Fast and Furious only in the past few weeks.
October 19, 2015 : Terry has been sentenced to 27 years behind bars after it is proven innocent of first degree murder in Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez.
May 8, 2019 - The House and the Justice Department announce to a federal appeals court that they The House and the Justice Department announce to a federal appeals court that they reached a settlement in Operation Fast and Furious on April 10, 2019. In the deal, both parties state that they are abandoning their appeals and lawsuit despite disagreeing with the prior court's orders.
January 31, 2020 - Favela-Astorga is extradited to the US.