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ATF Creating 7 New Groups to Cut Flow of Illegal Weapons to Mexico

Ken Melson and Dennis Burke/atf photo
Ken Melson and Dennis Burke/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF is creating seven new anti-gunrunner groups around the country to try and cut the flow of illegal firearms to Mexico.

In announcing the new move, ATF said it was placing the groups “along traditional and newly-discovered firearms trafficking routes and hubs” in Atlanta, Dallas, Brownsville, Tex., Las Vegas, Miami, Oklahoma City and Sierra Vista, Az.

The groups are being created as a result of the 2010 emergency supplemental appropriation for border security. ATF received $37.5 million for Project Gunrunner to halt the flow of illegal guns to Mexico, the agency said.

“Lives are being lost to violent crime every day on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border,” ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson said in a statement.

While announcing the formation of the new groups on Friday, ATF also released results of Gun Runner Impact Team (GRIT), a 100-day initiative that brought more than 80 ATF employees from around the country to Arizona and New Mexico to battle the flow of guns to Mexico.

Authorities said that GRIT special agents launched 174 firearms trafficking-related criminal investigations, seized about 1,300 illegally-trafficked firearms and 71,000 rounds of ammunition, drugs and currency.

“We are fighting on a crucial front here today to reduce violence in our own communities, and to disrupt and dismantle the southbound supply of weapons to the cartels,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said in a statement. “We will not be a gun locker for the cartels, who have made murder and mayhem their modus operandi. We will not tolerate violent criminals and others who illegally possess, purchase or sell firearms.”


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