Mexico’s Military Gun Trafficking Problem
By NSSF’s Larry Keane
Mexico is going to have to answer a few basic questions when their lawyers finally step in front of a judge to claim that U.S.-based manufacturers are somehow responsible for their own lack of law enforcement on their side of the border.
First question: where are all the firearms that went missing from the Mexican military? That would be those firearms supplied by U.S. manufacturers pursuant to U.S. State Department approved export licenses to meet foreign defense contracts but have somehow walked off Mexican military bases.
Mexico is suing U.S. manufacturers for $10 billion in damages, alleging those manufacturers participate in negligent business practices and are responsible for “massive damage” that is “destabilizing” their country. Mexican authorities take no responsibility for failing to enforce their own gun control laws or acknowledge the fact that corruption by narco-terrorists is a way of life for many of their own government officials. Mexico is ranked as 124 out of 180 countries on a corruption index by the watchdog Transparency International. That put Mexico on par with Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Mexico claims in their lawsuit, according to Reuters, that over a half million firearms are illegally trafficked into their country in a deliberate scheme to undermine their strict gun laws in ways that would knowingly arm drug cartels, fueling murders, extortion and kidnappings. Their lawsuit alleges that 68 percent of the firearms recovered are manufactured in the United States.
Mexico has just one firearm retailer in the entire country. That’s in the heart of Mexico City and is encamped in the middle of a military base. Still, guns are being recovered and it turns out that Mexico’s military is a source. Mexico’s Army is losing approximately 30 percent of their firearms purchased from U.S. manufacturers. Those firearms are being recovered in crime scenes across the country. Firearms manufactured in the United States and sold lawfully through military contracts aren’t the only ones. Other firearms from manufacturers based in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain are also being recovered at crime scenes.
The fact that these firearms are being “lost” by the Mexican Army is worth noting, since it is only the Mexican Army that can purchase these firearms.
The report of these firearms going missing came from Mexican journalist Carlos Loret De Mola and was reported by Breitbart. That report also indicated that it is only the Mexican Army that can sell firearms and that an office called CENAPI, that resides within that of the Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Gomez, tracks firearms recovered at crime scenes but Loret De Mola claims that information is being suppressed because of Mexico’s pending lawsuit against U.S. manufacturers. CENAPI reportedly denied Loret De Mola’s request for information about recovered firearms in what is being termed as a way to cover up the Mexican Army’s role in gun trafficking.
The gun scandal isn’t the first time Mexican military and government officials were incriminated for breaking their own laws, working with narco-terrorists and fueling the violence within their own country. Mexican Gen. Juan Ernesto Antonio Bernal Reyes, the former candidate for to be the Mexican defense secretary, was arrested Oaxaca on extortion charges in December 2021.
In October 2020, U.S. authorities arrested Mexico’s Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos for drug trafficking and money laundering charges. He was turned over to Mexican authorities after U.S. authorities succumbed to pressure to not prosecute and on a promise Mexico would investigate and prosecute the case. The charges against him were dismissed, however.
Mexican authorities only recently announced charges for seven individuals stemming from the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious gun-running scheme where the Obama administration allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S.-Mexico border only to not track them once they were in Mexico. That secretive operation was revealed in 2010 after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed and two firearms connected with the operation were recovered. At the time, U.S. authorities were aware of at least 179 firearms recovered at Mexican crime scenes and another 130 recovered in the United States.
Mexico lodged charges in the decade-old Operation Fast and Furious case against the seven which include the country’s former top police official, Genaro García Luna, security chief for Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón from 2006-2012, former Federal Police commander Luis Cardenas Palomino, a close assistant to García Luna and former drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. García Luna was arrested in Texas in 2019 by U.S. authorities for allegations he was protecting a drug gang. Mexico is currently seeking his extradition to face trial there. Palomino was already arrested by Mexican authorities for torture charges and U.S. authorities accuse him of taking bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel. “El Chapo” Guzman was convicted in a U.S. court of drug trafficking and is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Colorado.
Mexican authorities confirmed that one of the rifles trafficked in Operation Fast and Furious, a .50-caliber rifle, was recovered in Guzman’s hideout. Mexico has named the manufacturer of that rifle as a defendant in their lawsuit.
It took a decade for Mexico to bring charges against Guzman, who is already sitting in U.S. prison after multiple escapes from Mexican prisons.
Mexico’s lawsuit against U.S. firearm manufacturers is a farce. The culprit for the lawlessness ravaging America’s southern neighbor isn’t in the manufacturing facilities in United States. It is in the halls of their own government and within the ranks of their own military.