Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Arms Trafficking to Mexico Face Planning and Coordination Challenges, Statement of Jess T. Ford, Director International Affairs and Trade, Testimony before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 2MB]

From Jess T. Ford's opening remarks: "I am pleased to be here today to discuss U.S. efforts to combat illicit arms trafficking to Mexico. This testimony is based on a GAO report, GAO-09-709, that we are releasing today. In recent years, violence along the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated dramatically as the administration of President Felipe Calderon has sought to combat the growing power of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTO) and curb their ability to operate with impunity in certain areas of Mexico. As illicitly trafficked firearms have fueled the drug trafficking violence,1 Mexican officials have come to regard illicit firearms as the number one crime problem affecting the country's security. According to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment, Mexican DTOs represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States, controlling drug distribution in many U.S. cities, and gaining strength in markets they do not yet control (see fig. 1). In particular, law enforcement reporting indicates Mexican DTOs maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors in at least 230 U.S. cities."

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