Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 13, 2009
DOJ, DHS and Mexico Announce Arrangement to Bolster Investigative Cooperation on International Firearms Trafficking Cases

WASHINGTON - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora, Mexican National Public Security System Executive Secretary Jorge Tello Peón, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton today signed a Letter of Intent to develop a coordinated and intelligence-driven response to the threat of cross border smuggling and trafficking of weapons and ammunition.

"The Letter of Intent illustrates our unconditional commitment to improve public safety in the United States and Mexico, and strengthens our determination to investigate and share intelligence to combat international firearms trafficking and violent crime," said Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden.  "Law enforcement agencies in both nations recognize the importance of tracing every crime gun recovered on the Southwest Border to help determine trafficking patterns and potential traffickers of illicit firearms. ATF is committed to its strong partnership with ICE in working collaboratively to reduce firearms-related violent crime as we stem the diversion of firearms to international criminal markets."

"Enforcing our laws at the border requires close collaboration with our international and domestic allies to ensure our mutual security," said Secretary Napolitano. "This arrangement signifies our continued commitment to working with Mexico to stop violence and deter criminal activity that threatens safety on both sides of the border."

The letter signed today, supported by President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón, will leverage the combined investigative capabilities of ICE, ATF and Mexico’s Procurador General de la Republica to combat violence and criminal activity along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Letter of Intent recommends a joint strategic implementation plan to develop cooperative protocols to investigate weapons and ammunition trafficking in the United States and Mexico and improve information sharing between the two countries to better identify smuggling and trafficking trends and support bilateral investigation efforts.

DOJ and DHS recently enhanced coordination between ATF and ICE to combat international firearms trafficking and between DEA and ICE  to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

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