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U.S. Customs seize machine gun bound for Mexico

EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. customs agents in Texas seized a tripod-mounted machine gun they found on the back seat of a sport utility vehicle headed into Mexico and arrested the driver, authorities said on Tuesday.

Agents at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge found the .30 caliber browning machine gun on the backseat of a Hummer H3 headed to Reynosa, Mexico, last Friday and arrested the 21-year-old driver from Pharr, Texas, the Customs and Border Protection agency said in a news release.

U.S. authorities are under pressure to curb gun running to Mexico, where more than 34,000 people have been killed in raging drug violence since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and vowed to crush the powerful cartels.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, about 90 percent of the crime guns seized and traced in Mexico last year were initially sold in the United States.

Rival drug gangs in the Reynosa area are currently locked in a bloody war for control of lucrative trafficking routes to south Texas.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Peter Bohan)