U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped an illegal export of 2,200 rounds of ammunition bound for Mexico at the Hidalgo International Bridge in Texas, the field office said Wednesday. File Photo by SrA Alexandra Minor/U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped an illegal export of 2,200 rounds of ammunition bound for Mexico at the Hidalgo International Bridge in Texas, the field office said Wednesday.
The ammunition shipment was on its way from the United States to Mexico on Monday, stowed in a Ford SUV driven by a 33-year-old U.S. citizen. The agency's press release said the shipment included two types of ammunition, 1,200 rounds for a .308 caliber rifle and 1,000 rounds for a .223 caliber rifle.
The driver, whose identity has not been disclosed, was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations special agents, according to CBP.
"The undeclared exportation of weapons and ammunition into Mexico is illegal. Our CBP officers prevented these bullets from reaching Mexico thanks to their diligent inspection work," said Carlos Rodriguez, director of the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office said it is difficult to pinpoint just how many firearms and rounds of ammunition are trafficked across the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly if they are seized by Mexican authorities. Between 2014 and 2018, about 70% of the illegal firearms recovered in Mexico were traced back to the United States.
The Department of Homeland security collected data on a small portion of the illegal weapons trafficked during that report, analyzing 1,012 weapons that were recovered in the United States. Meanwhile, the more than 56,000 weapons recovered in Mexico from the United States and recorded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were not analyzed by the DHS.
The ATF launched Operation Southbound in 2020 as a means to address heavy weapon smuggling activity at the southern border, the GAO said.