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WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants Illinois police departments to use a federal firearms tracing system that can tell investigators the chain of custody of a gun from the manufacturer to the first legal purchaser.
Durbin says fewer than half of Illinois' more than 800 police departments use the eTrace program of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said Monday he will be introducing legislation creating an incentive for police to use eTrace.
The legislation would require police departments seeking federal COPS grants to tell the federal government how many crime guns they've recovered. They would have to report how many were submitted to ATF for tracing and why any recovered guns were not submitted.
COPS grants are designed to encourage the development of community policing programs.
Guns, drugs and the arrest of more than 150 people in the St Louis area is the result of a four month undercover investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
For four months--more than 80 ATF agents from around the country as well as federal prosecutors and local police were involved in a massive drugs and arms investigation. It's known as The Violent Crime Reduction Partnership and is the ninth “multi-month” operation conducted by the ATF.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports on Wednesday 159 people were arrested. Agents say they have more than 1,700 previous arrests between them, and 78 percent are previously convicted felons.
Agents also seized 267 guns as well as more than seven pounds of marijuana, three pounds of cocaine, a pound and a half of heroin and 25 ounces of meth.
The hunt for a fugitive in the St. Louis area is over.
The ATF reports that agents have captured Excedrin Collins. The alert for Collins was sent out by the Kansas City ATF office--investigators had reason to believe that he was in the metro area. Collins was wanted for several felonies including assault on a federal agent.
The ATF offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to Collins arrest, but it is not clear if a tip was responsible for authorities finding him.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is getting its first explosives-sniffing dog.
The ATF says the 15 month old chocolate Labrador retriever, Andi, was raised by prison inmates through the program Puppies Behind Bars.
Andi recently finished a 16 week training program at the ATF's National Canine Academy in Virginia. Her St. Louis trainer, special agent Alan Leah, worked with her over the last 10 weeks of training.
The ATF says the dog will be used primarily on gun trafficking and search warrants.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal firearms official says the agency never sought or received a list of Missouri concealed gun permit holders.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agency was not involved in an effort by the Social Security Administration to obtain the information.
Missouri senators have publicized an email from a state crime analyst indicating that the Social Security Administration wanted a "comprehensive list" of concealed gun permit holders as part of a "joint venture" with the ATF.
But ATF spokesman Mike Campbell says there was no joint venture and his agency never asked for or received the Missouri information.
A Social Security official confirmed Wednesday that the agency had no plans to involve the ATF in its investigation.