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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 9, 2008

Firearms Trafficking Training Provided to Police Officers in Mexico and El Salvador


During the first week of March 2008, the ATF International Training Branch conducted a Small Arms Trafficking Training Program in the city of Queretaro, Mexico for the Queretaro State Police. The class was conducted by a team of five ATF instructors.

During the course, the class was tasked with practical exercises involving the identification of firearms, tracing of firearms, identification of components in improvised explosive devices and the post-blast reconstruction of those devices.

This course was the second part of a two-week training program conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The first week of training dealt with the interdiction of illegal narcotics and was taught by agents of the DEA. The two-week course was funded by the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. The NAS is a bureau within the U.S. Department of State.

The Queretaro class consisted of 39 police officers. The officers varied widely in rank and experience from patrol officers to commanders of the State Police.

El Salvador

On February 27-29, the ATF International Training Branch sent an instructor team of two special agents to conduct training in firearms identification and trafficking as part of the six week Law Enforcement Management Development Program at the International Law Enforcement Academy in San Salvador, El Salvador. The class consisted of 40 police officers from the countries of El Salvador, Ecuador and Colombia.

Both of these courses provided participants with a comprehensive overview of firearms to include firearms safety, firearms identification, ammunition, firearm tracing, ballistics, and firearms trafficking. During the course, participants were given the opportunity to discuss ongoing firearms trafficking issues in their respective countries and regions. The participants were encouraged to interact with the instructors and other participants in order to develop new ideas for combating firearms trafficking and investigating firearms related crime.

The International Training Branch is responsible for coordinating and administering advanced and specialized training programs for foreign law enforcement and government agencies throughout the world. These programs include firearms, explosives, arson, post-blast investigation, alcohol, tobacco, and forensic-related programs. ATF employs special agents, industry operations investigators, auditors, forensic scientists and other professionals to carry out this mission.

More information on ATF and its programs can be found at

Caption to follow.

Piecing the Puzzle Together: ATF’s Small Arms Trafficking Training Class in Queretaro, Mexico, provided participants with an introduction to explosives, which included explosives identification, improvised explosive devices, current trends in explosives incidents, post-blast investigation, scene documentation and team concepts.

Caption to follow.

Listen Up: An ATF instructor from the bureau’s Office of Training and Professional Development tasks his students with a practical exercise in firearms identification and tracing.