Arms seized from Mexican gangs come from US: Report




By IANS/EFE,

San Diego : A vast majority of firearms seized from criminal organisations in Mexico come from the US, a study has claimed.

The study by the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute said one of the most significant trends has been the increased cross-border trafficking of military-style rifles and ammunition.

The study titled "US Firearms Trafficking to Mexico: New Data and Insights Illuminate Key Trends and Challenges", was a collaboration between the Trans-Border Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute and prepared by independent consultants Colby Goodman and Michel Marizco.

The authors said the criminal groups are using these weapons to attack police, public officials and journalists in Mexico, impose tax-like fees on the Mexican population and even attack US state department officials.

"Drug-trafficking organisations are also contributing to major migration away from the violence and, in some cases, towards the US," according to the study.

The study noted that "US firearms account for the vast majority of firearms seized in Mexico", adding that of an estimated 80,000 total firearms seized from late 2006 to February 2010, roughly 62,800, or 80 percent, came from the US.

The report also said the gap in price between "US-origin AK-47s sold just across the US-Mexico border ($1,200 to $1,600) and US-origin AK-47s sold in southern Mexico ($2,000 to $4,000) is another indicator of the demand for US firearms in Mexico and the lack of quality assault rifles from Central America".

Over the past three years, the two main firearms purchased in the US and seized in Mexico were Romania-made AK-47 semi-automatic rifles and AR-15 clones. Those weapons had been imported into the US despite the country's embargo on semi-automatic assault rifles.

Drug cartels "are increasingly seeking, receiving, and using US-origin .50 BMG caliber rifles and 5.7 mm pistols and rifles and AK-47 drum magazines with 50, 75 and 100 rounds of ammunition," the study said.

The authors proposed that the US government increase funding for Mexican agencies so that they can step up operations on the US' southwest border.

They also proposed a new law that would require authorities to be notified when multiple purchases of military-style weapons are made in the US in a short period of time.

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