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Abs of steel: 2 men busted in Nogales for smuggling AK-47s taped to their torsos

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested two men as they attempted to walk south from Nogales, Ariz., into Mexico with four semi-automatic rifles strapped to their torsos, officials said.

Around 7:30 a.m. on June 7, two men, both identified as U.S. citizens, attempted to smuggle the guns into Mexico through the Dennis DeConcini border crossing, but were stopped by members of the Nogales Contraband Enforcement Team, said Hugo Nunez, a CBP spokesman.

Photos released by the agency shows one man was carrying three AK-47 variant rifles taped around his stomach, with the barrels in his jeans. Along with the hidden three rifles, the man also had a toy AK-47 clipped to a belt loop.

The second man had a single AK-47 strapped to his stomach with tape.

Michael Humphries, the director of the Nogales port, announced the seizure on Twitter, and praised his officers. "Excellent job," he wrote, "for your vigilance and protecting both sides of the border."

Officers with CBP's Office of Field Operations, who manage the nation's ports of entry, including border crossings and airports, continue to find guns and ammunition during outgoing inspections. This includes not only pistols and AK-47-style rifles, but also more recently a .30-caliber machine gun along with a tripod and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition.

Last year, the Mexican government filed a lawsuit against seven U.S. gun manufacturers, and a Boston-area wholesaler, arguing that the companies are responsible for a "deadly flood" of weapons that invariably "wreak havoc in Mexican society."

Weapons made by the companies ended up in Mexico through "operación hormiga," or an "ant operation," according to the lawsuit, which complained people purchase small numbers of firearms through straw purchases in gun stores—including stores in Tucson and Phoenix—and smuggle the weapons into Mexico.

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The lawsuit said around 70 to 90 percent of the guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were trafficked from the U.S.

Federal law enforcement in the U.S. have regularly tried to blunt the smuggling of firearms and ammunition into Mexico. Officials with Homeland Security Investigations, a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently announced Operation Without a Trace, a program that seized more than 1,125 firearms and over 680,000 rounds of ammunition over two years.

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