Good analysis of Operation Gunwalker
Here. I agree with the author. The more we look into it, it appears that the object of sending guns to the Sinaloa Cartel was to ... send guns to the Sinaloa Cartel. Since they lost track of the guns as soon as they crossed the border, the shipments couldn't have yielded any intelligence or evidence. The only info that could be obtained were that guns were being recovered in Mexico that traced to American dealers. Added benefit: if anyone asked just how many of those came directly from dealers, as opposed to having been legally sold long ago, stolen, and then shipped, you have salted the mine with 2,000 that will in fact trace directly to a dealer sale. It would also drive down the average "time to crime" figure.