ATF orders immediate review of gun-running operation

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The head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive on Thursday night ordered an outside evaluation of his agency's efforts to combat Mexican gun trafficking following a Center for Public Integrity report that ATF supervisors allowed more than 1,700 guns to flow to straw buyers with the expectation the weapons might cross the border and even be used in crimes.

The Center's story quoted an ATF agent, John Dodson, who blew the whistle on the operation after his supervisors repeatedly cast aside frontline agents’ concerns that the weapons ATF let "walk" might be deployed in crimes on both sides of the border.

The statement, issued by ATF’s acting director, Kenneth E. Melson, said the agency “will ask a multi-disciplinary panel of law enforcement professionals to review the bureau’s current firearms trafficking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents."

The statement said the review “will enable ATF to maximize its effectiveness when undertaking complex firearms trafficking investigations and prosecutions. It will support the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico and combat firearms trafficking in the United States."

Click here to read the Center's full expose.