Nov 16, 2010 5:30 AM
TUCSON - The Mexican drug war is being fueled with weapons that reportedly are being smuggled in from the U-S.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms officials say they have traced some the firearms recovered in Mexico and most of them come from Texas, and Arizona.
Some have ties to Southern Arizona.
Rick Serrano is a supervisory special agent with A-T-F. He's been investigating gun trafficking along the border his entire career.
He says the drug cartels weapon of choice is the AK-47.
"These are very desirable because they have a detachable magazine, high capacity round."
Ammunition is also being smuggled into Mexico.
In June A-T-F agents seized 9-thousand rounds hidden in a tire. They say they kept it from going into Mexico.
A search warrant revealed an additional 21-thousand rounds at a Tucson home.
Three people were arrested. A-T-F says they were part of an ammunition trafficking organization.
They traced over a quarter million rounds of ammunition had been purchased by this organization.
Investigators tell News 4; one of the men arrested had ties to a Sinaloan drug trafficking organization.
Supervisory special agent Rick Serrano says, "The end result of these guns is we're all seeing what's happening down there these are tools for the trade for these drug cartels. You're dealing with some pretty nasty people down there."
Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels four years ago, it's estimated 30-thousand people have been killed in Mexico.
That's why Serrano believes now more than ever it's important to work with Mexico.
A-T-F- says since they initiated "Project Gun Runner" which is tracing weapons, their prosecutions have gone up 50 percent and their investigations up 109%.
He also says a recent program called e-trace, an electronic database that can trace the manufacture, import, sale and ownership of guns will be helpful here in the U-S as well as in Mexico.