More on Mexico
The Narcosphere points out that reports that (insert imaginary number) % of guns seized in Mexico trace to the US may illustrate a different problem. With State Department approval, American companies sell about $300,000 a year of military/police arms and hardware to the Mexican military and law enforcement.
"The deadliest of the weapons now in the hands of criminal groups in Mexico, particularly along the U.S. border, by any reasonable standard of an analysis of the facts, appear to be getting into that nation through perfectly legal private-sector arms exports, measured in the billions of dollars, and sanctioned by our own State Department. These deadly trade commodities — grenade launchers, explosives and “assault” weapons —are then, in quantities that can fill warehouses, being corruptly transferred to drug trafficking organizations via their reach into the Mexican military and law enforcement agencies, the evidence indicates.
“As in other criminal enterprises in Mexico, such as drug smuggling or kidnapping, it is not unusual to find police officers and military personnel involved in the illegal arms trade,” states an October 2007 report by the for-profit global intelligence group Stratfor, which Barron’s magazine once dubbed the Shadow CIA. “… Over the past few years, several Mexican government officials have been arrested on both sides of the border for participating in the arms trade.”"
The approved shipments in FY 2006 and 2007 included 13,000 firearms, $3 milllion of ammunition, and 42 grenade launchers. The report quotes a retired customs official:
"I would agree entirely [that] DCS (and DoD gifted, as opposed to DCS sold) weapons are obviously the simplest explanation for the massive rise in the number of fully automatic weapons, grenades, rockets, etc., obtained by the narcotics gangs. … That is to say, they are obtaining their weapons from their own, Mexican, government, by various illegal means.
… The Mexican government has a long and well-documented history of corruption at all levels, from city to federal. Most of the weapons being "displayed" [in the media] are simply not available for sale to American civilians, particularly including the grenades — both 40mm and hand types. …
… The source of these weapons can be easily traced by ATF. … All foreign sales must be reported to ATF prior to shipment, just in case the government wishes to hold up a shipment to a particular country, etc. Tracing the serial numbers would be easy, with US government assistance, of course."
It also reports that while State Dept has a program to track and verify such shipments, it is almost never employed. In two recent years, it examined exactly exactly three transfers.