Documents point to ATF "gun running" since 2008

This is a photo provided to CBS News of an actual display put out for suspected Mexico drug cartel weapons suppliers in an undercover ATF operation in Tucson in 2008. According to court documents obtained by CBS News, ATF Agents watched as suspected gun traffickers carried at least six of the civilian version M-16's (shown on the bright blue boxes) across the border into Mexico.

This is a photo provided to CBS News of an actual display put out for suspected Mexico drug cartel weapons suppliers in an undercover ATF operation in Tucson in 2008. According to court documents obtained by CBS News, ATF Agents watched as suspected gun traffickers carried at least six of the civilian version M-16's (shown on the bright blue boxes) across the border into Mexico.

A controversial operation in which U.S. agents were allegedly ordered not to intervene as American guns flowed to Mexican gangs may have been going on for many years, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

A photograph obtained by CBS News shows an astonishing display of high-powered weapons put up for suspected Mexican drug cartel gun buyers. It's a rare glimpse into ATF's controversial undercover operations.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allegedly let gun runners walk off with weapons - thousands of them - to see if they'd end up in the hands of the cartels. The Justice Department and ATF have denied it ever happened.

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  • Sharyl Attkisson On Twitter»

    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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