Oct 1, 2009 Press Release; DOJ Announces Success in Battle Against Firearms Trafficking, Project Gunrunner

Posted on August 4, 2011 by

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Thu Oct 1, 2009 1:55pm EDT

Justice Department Announces Success in Battle Against Firearms Trafficking
and Recovery Act Funds to Build on Project Gunrunner

HOUSTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting
Director Kenneth E. Melson today announced the results of ATF's Gun Runner
Impact Team (GRIT) initiative, a 120-day deployment of ATF resources to the
Houston Field Division to disrupt illegal firearms trafficking by Mexican drug
cartels.  The Justice Department officials also outlined the $10 million in
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds that have been allocated to
support the initiative going forward. 

GRIT was developed to aggressively target and disrupt groups and organizations
responsible for trafficking firearms to Mexico.  The GRIT initiative was a
component of Project Gunner, ATF's comprehensive firearms trafficking strategy
along the Southwest Border.  

"The Department of Justice has pledged its unconditional commitment to better
protect the Southwest Border with initiatives such as Project Gunrunner, by
targeting the source of the violence -- the illegal firearms traffickers,"
said Ogden.  "The Department of Justice is using the vital funding from the
Recovery Act to continue to build an infrastructure to combat violent crime
and firearms trafficking along our southwest border as part of Project
Gunrunner."

"This concentration of additional personnel accomplished more in four months
than we were able to achieve in almost three years in some areas along the
border," said Melson.  "The temporary deployment of veteran ATF special agents
and industry operations investigators (IOIs) to the Houston Field Division has
made enormous inroads into stemming the firearms-related violent crime in the
United States and along the Mexican border.  We have begun to flush out
firearms trafficking schemes and routes, producing tangible results in the
form of open investigations, arrests, seizures and criminal case referrals."

The GRIT initiative brought 100 experienced ATF personnel from around the
country to southern Texas.  The special agents investigated more than 1,000
criminal leads and seized more than 440 illegal firearms, 141,440 rounds of
ammunition, $165,000 in U.S. currency, 1,500 pounds of marijuana, and
additional drugs and explosive devices.  The IOIs conducted nearly 1,100
federal firearms licensee compliance inspections involving 70,000 firearms and
resulting in 440 violations.  

ATF's GRIT special agents opened 276 federal firearms trafficking-related
criminal cases in just four months.

ATF received $10 million through the Recovery Act to continue to build an
infrastructure to further the accomplishments of Project Gunrunner.  As part
of the $10 million, ATF is hiring 25 new special agents, six industry
operations investigators, three intelligence research specialists and three
investigative analysts.  The funding will establish three permanent field
offices, dedicated to firearms trafficking investigations, in McAllen, Texas;
El Centro, Calif.; and Las Cruces, N.M.; and a satellite office in Roswell,
N.M.

For more information on Project Gunrunner or other ATF programs, please visit
www.atf.gov.

SOURCE  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, +1-202-514-2007, TDD,
+1-202-514-1888; or Franceska Perot, ATF PIO, +1-281-372-2908, cell:
+1-281-914-8124, John Hageman, ATF Public Affairs, cell: +1-609 743-2987, both
of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Here is a screen grab of the page.

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