Friday, March 11, 2011

Sources of drug cartels' illegal arms

Yesterday's post cited the governor of the State of Juarez (Cesar Duarte Jaquez) blaming the United States for its role in allowing illegal arms to cross the border into Mexico. Today El Universal continues the conversation, asking: Where, exactly, do the cartels get their illegal arms?
The security consulting firm Sratfor cites three sources: Mexico, the US and the black market in Asia (such as China) and Latin America (such as Guatemala). It is the latter category that the firm describes as providing the deadliest weapons, such as rocket-powered grenades and automatic assault rifles. The firm also blames corrupt Mexican soldiers or deserters for providing such arms to the cartels. As for the cartels that use such heavy arms, the firm cites Los Zetas, Gente Nueva and La Linea.
Weapons that come from the US include 9-mm pistols as well as .45 and .40-calibers, plus .50-caliber rifles and semiautomatic assault rifles (AK-47s, M16s and FN57s). The smallest-caliber pistols, meanwhile, tend to be bought in Mexico.
So it seems that the US' role in the illegal arms trade is significant, but that Mexico, Asia and Latin America also play a role here.
Meanwhile, alleged drug gangs blocked off traffic in the Monterrey metropolitan area on Friday, minutes after an afternoon attack on police forces left one officer dead and another seriously wounded. The assassins shot at the police at least 25 times and apparently killed the driver of the police vehicle. El Universal has the story, via El Pulso.

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