El Desmadre de las Armas Preferidas

Sep 15th, 2010 | By Michel Marizco | Category: General News, Organized Crime, Politics
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Readers of BorderReporter are no strangers to the stories that surface on a daily basis of clashes between Mexico’s cartels and the state. But some of you may find certain elements of this report I co-authored on firearms trafficking to Mexico interesting. Funded by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, my colleague, Colby Goodman and I set out to establish the parameters of the trafficking debate, since so often, the numbers are roughly generalized and given little context.

We wanted to pinpoint the numbers, the costs of weapons once they leave the U.S., the kinds of weapons most sought after by the cartels in Mexico; what the real figures are behind those vague “thousands of guns” figures that are always thrown about. This is our attempt at introducing some clarity into the discussion and I think, overall, we proved successful.

These are some of our findings:

From 2007 to 2009, Mexican authorities nabbed about 60,000 U.S.-origin firearms.

In fiscal 2009, ATF tracked 4,976 firearms that were trafficked to Mexico. Compare that to the 14,923 tracked between fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2009 and you get a sense of the demand increase south of the border.

Looking at the top two firearms recovered in Mexico that had been purchased in the U.S. in the past three years were the Romanian AK-47 style and Bushmaster AR-15 clones.

We also looked at specific gun crime.

Finally, we looked at some of the problems and challenges that the U.S. and Mexico face. For example, Mexico has not been efficient in submitting firearm trace requests to ATF even in spite of the conditions put upon Mexico by the Merida Agreement. From conversations with individual ATF agents, it appears agents occasionally face obstruction in referring cases for prosecution in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which last year reinstated its outbound inspection teams at the ports of entry, does not have the infrastructure or the staff to cover all the ports. For example, of the 110 southbound lanes leading out of the U.S., only 52 have some sort of license plate reader and while CBP won’t discuss its management of staffing individual lanes, I know from personal account of crossing the border almost daily that agents are not consistently monitoring southbound traffic.

You can download a pdf of our report here.

Oh by the way, so I hear Gulf people are now moving in to Chihuahua City at Shorty Guzmán’s request to back Noel Salgueiro against La Linea. Is this correct?

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