Jul 17, 2012 2:33 PM
PHOENIX (AP) - A man has pleaded guilty to participating in a smuggling ring that was being monitored by federal authorities in the botched investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
Erick Avila Davila pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to a charge of conspiracy and faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced.
Davila admitted to being a straw buyer for the ring and claiming that about 12 guns he bought were for him when he was actually making the purchases on behalf of the ring.
So far, 12 people in the alleged 20-member smuggling ring have pleaded guilty.
Federal authorities have faced criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers to walk away from gun shops with weapons, rather than arrest the suspects and seize the guns there.