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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 28, 2009


Contact: ATF Public Affairs Division

(202) 648-8500

Franceska Perot, ATF PIO

(281) 372-2908, office

(281) 914-8124, mobile

ATF Announces Gun Runner Impact Teams Rollout

100 Additional Personnel Arrive in Houston

HOUSTON — Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Special Agent in Charge J. Dewey Webb, Houston Field Division, today announced the arrival of its Gun Runner Impact Teams (GRITs) personnel to the Houston Field Division in support of ATF’s Southwest Border strategy, Project Gunrunner.

The GRITs will add special agents, industry operations investigators, analytical, legal, technical and administrative support personnel, along with investigative equipment and other resources to Project Gunrunner. This supplemental initiative will be operational for 120 days, and is intended to target and disrupt the groups and organizations responsible for trafficking firearms to Mexico.

“Narcotics trafficking fuels firearms-related violent crime across the United States, not just on the Southwest Border. But the violence on the Border is concentrated and financed by powerful drug trafficking organizations with a penchant for making blood money and shattering lives using guns illegally,” said ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson. “With GRIT personnel, ATF has drawn a line in the sand against violent crime in Texas and the entire country.”

The ATF Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information, using intelligence from trace data, has created numerous investigative leads. This initiative will focus on increasing: the number of firearms trafficking investigations opened/closed during this period; the number of defendants referred for prosecution; and the number of firearms and other evidence recovered. ATF intends to reduce the availability of guns to Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

ATF’s violent crime-fighting and firearms trafficking expertise and regulatory authority, along with its strategic domestic and international partnerships will help combat the increasing violence along the U.S.–Mexico border, as well as throughout the country.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at

Read Acting Director Kenneth Melson’s Remarks