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Homeland Security

Weapons Busts Near U.S.-Mexico Border Show Heightened Alertness

Release Date: 
March 11, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

A trio of weapons seizures in Arizona and Texas this week highlight the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) heightened emphasis on tracking and intercepting illegal guns and ammunition near the U.S.-Mexico border under Secretary Janet Napolitano.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents seized 10 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition from a southbound pickup truck in Southwestern Arizona on Saturday. On Thursday, CBP officers found rifle barrels, firearm accessories and gun powder in a tractor-trailer attempting to exit the U.S. for Mexico in Pharr, Tex. And on Wednesday, CBP agents in Laredo, Tex., discovered a collection of weapons and ammunition hidden in a second truck destined for Mexico. In both cases, suspects were arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Stopping the flow of illegal weapons from the United States to Mexico is critical to our fight against violent drug cartels,” Secretary Napolitano said. “We are continuing to find new ways to fight recent increases in illegal weapons trafficking to Mexico, and I applaud the officers and agents who work to prevent these illegal weapons from crossing the border. You will see more of these successes.”

Agents in Arizona found five SKS rifles, two AK-47 rifles, two semi-automatic .9 mm pistols and one CVA .50 rifle, along with several thousands of ammunition rounds hidden in an ice chest. The two men in the truck, a U.S. citizen and a legal permanent resident from Mexico, were arrested.

In Pharr, officers stopped a commercial tractor-trailer with Mexican registration at the Pharr/Reynosa International Bridge and discovered 19 bottles of gun powder, 9,000 pistol primers, 1,100 bullet reloads and two rifle barrels.

Officers in Laredo arrested a U.S. citizen attempting to drive over the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge after a cache of gun parts, accessories and ammunition was discovered hidden in the truck’s side panels and gas tank.

The seizures represent an active response by DHS along the United States’ southern border to combat the smuggling of firearms to Mexico, where a recent surge in violence has been fueled largely by guns and ammunition trafficked from the U.S.

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