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Mexico; United States: Plans to Identify and Disrupt Trans-Border Weapons-Smuggling Networks

(July 2, 2008) On June 9, 2008, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Mexico Customs announced Operation Armas Cruzadas, “a major effort to identify and disrupt trans-border weapons smuggling networks between the two countries' borders through the Homeland Security Information Network (HSN) virtual weapons task force.” (News Release, ICE, ICE and Mexican Officials Announce Plans to Identify and Disrupt Trans-Border Weapons Smuggling Networks: Armas Cruzadas Is a Bi-Lateral Law Enforcement and Intelligence-Sharing Operation to Thwart Export of Arms from U.S. into Mexico (June 9, 2008), available at http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/articles/080609houston.htm.) “Through coordinated operations based on developed intelligence of arms trafficking networks in North America,” Operation Armas Cruzadas “aims to stop the illegal export of weapons from the U.S. and into the hands of drug cartel organizations inside Mexico,” according to the ICE news release on the new plan. (Id.) “U.S. and Mexican agencies will synchronize key law enforcement and intelligence elements to accomplish” the operation, the news release states, and the new effort “will help strengthen interagency cooperation between U.S. and Mexican federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and promote the exchange of intelligence through multiple points of contact.” (Id.)

The operation is led by ICE, in conjunction with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. (News Release, ICE, ICE and Mexican Officials Announce Plans to Identify and Disrupt Trans-Border Weapons Smuggling Networks: Armas Cruzadas Is a Bi-Lateral Law Enforcement and Intelligence-Sharing Operation to Thwart Export of Arms from U.S. into Mexico (June 9, 2008), available at http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/newsreleases/articles/080609houston.htm.)