Monday, November 15, 2010

just like in the hood....,

LATimes | About 30,000 people have been killed in Mexican cartel violence since President Felipe Calderon started deploying troops to take on the drug and gun traffickers in December 2006. Nearly 70,000 U.S.-originated firearms were recovered in Mexico between 2007 and 2009.

About 7,000 licensed U.S. gun dealers operate near the 2,000-mile border, and cartel leaders often hire straw buyers to purchase firearms and pay others to transport the weapons into Mexico. Just as the drugs flow steadily north, the guns reach Mexico secreted under truck beds or stashed in car trunks, sometimes even hidden in clothing.

ATF officials defended their marquee program, named Project Gunrunner, saying it has gone a long way in combating the illegal flow of U.S. firearms into Mexico since it was started in Texas in 2005 and expanded nationwide a year later.

Kenneth E. Melson, the ATF's deputy director, said in a lengthy rebuttal letter to the inspector general's report that there had been "significant accomplishments," with gun investigations up by 109% and prosecutions up by 54% under the project.

But he said a reduction in funds had limited some gun-tracing operations and had stalled attempts by the ATF to place more U.S. agents in Mexican police stations to work on joint investigations.

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