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Top ATF Agent Continues Crusade Against Illegal Guns On Phila. Streets

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In an exclusive, one on one interview, Sam Rabadi, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in Philadelphia, gave Eyewitness News an inside look at the fight to stop the flow of illegal weapons onto the streets of Philadelphia.

Rabadi explained that many of the more than 3,000 illegal weapons confiscated last year by his agents came from 14 other states, many in the South, but including Texas and California.

An illegal weapon, Rabadi explained, sold legitimately for $500, could easily be worth five times that much when sold on the streets.

"As long as there's a market, they'll engage in this business," Rabadi said, "because at the end of the day, they want to make money."

Many of the weapons, that make their way to crime scenes here, are stolen in burglaries at gun stores and private homes, Rabadi explained.

The top ATF Agent is optimistic that, thanks to a new high tech analysis system, more and more of these weapons can be linked to specific crimes, giving agents an even better chance to catch their owners.

"We may at last be able to get to their Achilles heel, by finding out just which crimes they are linked to," Rabadi explained.

The insights from ATF on the so-called "Iron Pipeline," bringing illegal guns here comes on a week where within two hours on one day, five people died in separate crimes from gun violence.

On Sunday, CBS SUNDAY MORNING will present a special edition called "Guns and America," which looks at the role of firearms in the country from a variety of points of view.

Agent Rabadia asked anyone in Philadelphia with information on illegal weapons to contact his agency at 1-800-ATF-GUNS.

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