Reports on gun that killed U.S. agent highlight continuing flow of weapons to Mexico

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Reports that a Texas store was the source of a gun used to kill a U.S. agent in Mexico are bringing new attention to an issue that was the subject a Center investigation last month.

Several publications reported late yesterday that the weapon used to gun down U.S. Immigration and Customs agent Jaime Zapata in central Mexico on Feb. 15 had been traced to a gun shop in Joshua, Texas, about a half-hour south of Forth Worth. Agents from the U.S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives earlier this week arrested the man who bought the gun, and two other suspected smugglers, in raids in Lancaster, Texas, a Dallas suburb.

These actions occurred just as Mexican president Felipe Calderon is preparing to meet with President Obama at the White House on Thursday. President Calderon has complained several times that the American government has done little to stop the flow of weapons across the border.

Last month, a Center for Public Integrity investigation revealed that U.S. importers were maneuvering around a law banning imports of foreign-made assault weapons, and selling such firearms in the U.S. — guns that are regularly finding their way into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

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