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Inspector General Report on ATF's Project Gunrunner

Inspector General Report on ATF's Project Gunrunner

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Published by: tpmdocs on Nov 09, 2010
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U.S. Department of JusticeOffice of the Inspector GeneralEvaluation and Inspections Division
Review of ATF’s Project Gunrunner
November 2010I-2011-001
 This review by the Department of Justice (Department) Office of theInspector General (OIG) examined the impact of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) implementation of ProjectGunrunner on the illicit trafficking of guns from the United States toMexico.Violence associated with organized crime and drug trafficking inMexico is widespread, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. In partbecause Mexican law severely restricts gun ownership, drug traffickers haveturned to the United States as a primary source of weapons, and these drugtraffickers routinely smuggle guns from the United States into Mexico. Thecriminal organizations responsible for smuggling guns to Mexico aretypically also involved in other criminal enterprises, such as drugtrafficking, human trafficking, and cash smuggling. This requires ATF to work with other federal entities, as well as with state and local lawenforcement partners, in sharing intelligence, coordinating law enforcementactivities, and building cases that can be prosecuted. To help combat firearms trafficking into Mexico, ATF began ProjectGunrunner as a pilot project in Laredo, Texas, in 2005 and expanded it as anational initiative in 2006. Project Gunrunner is also part of theDepartment’s broader Southwest Border Initiative, which seeks to reducecross-border drug and firearms trafficking and the high level of violenceassociated with these activities on both sides of the border.In June 2007, ATF published a strategy document,
Southwest Border Initiative: Project Gunrunner 
(Gunrunner strategy), outlining four keycomponents to Project Gunrunner: the expansion of gun tracing in Mexico,international coordination, domestic activities, and intelligence. Inimplementing Project Gunrunner, ATF has focused resources in its fourSouthwest border field divisions. In addition, ATF has made firearmstrafficking to Mexico a top ATF priority nationwide. The OIG conducted this review to evaluate the effectiveness of ATF’simplementation of Project Gunrunner. Our review examined ATF’senforcement and regulatory programs related to the Southwest border andMexico, ATF’s effectiveness in developing and sharing firearms traffickingintelligence and information, the number and prosecutorial outcomes of ATF’s Project Gunrunner investigations, ATF’s coordination with U.S. andMexican law enforcement partners, ATF’s traces of Mexican “crime guns,”
U.S. Department of JusticeOffice of the Inspector GeneralEvaluation and Inspections Division

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