Monday, September 13, 2010

Mexico Gun Trafficking On Rise

Those working in criminal defense are all too familiar with illegal gun trafficking. No better way to get the feds attention than trading in illegal firearms. But an important question is where are those guns going and how are they being used. A new report by the University of San Diego indicates that massive quantities of U.S. weapons are being delivered to the cartels. U.S. efforts to stop the trafficking are having little effect.

The Washington Post carried a full story today (full article here):

According to authors Colby Goodman and Michel Marizco, at least 62,800 of the more than 80,000 firearms confiscated by Mexican authorities from December 2006 to February 2010 came from the United States. Guns are being smuggled across the border at a rate of up to 5,000 per year. The top two varieties are assault rifles: Romanian-made AK47s and clones of the Bushmaster AR-15. More than 2,000 police and federal agents are among the 28,000 killed in drug-related violence in the past four years. According to Mr. Goodman and Mr. Marizco, whose work was sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the University of San Diego, just one gun store in Houston supplied 339 assault weapons, rifles and pistols to cartel buyers in just 15 months -- which were responsible for the deaths of 18 Mexican law enforcement officers and civilians.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The first flaw I found was in the fundamental "facts" quoted as follows, "With information gleaned from increased Mexican firearm seizures and U.S. prosecutions, it is now possible to provide a better picture of some of the key questions about U.S. firearms trafficking to Mexico as well as some of the key trends and challenges. In May 2010, for example, the Mexican government, which has received training from ATF to better identify firearms, said that of the 75,000 firearms it seized in the last three years about 80 percent, or 60,000 firearms, came from the United States."

This is patently false, misleading and intellectually dishonest, but was used to "set the tone" for the entire document.

A better picture? Key questions? Key trends and challenges? I think not.

My evidence? A footnote from the same report:
18 Mary Beth Sheridan, "Mexico’s Calderon tells Congress he needs U.S. help in fighting drug wars," The Washington Post, May 21, 2010, online at 2010/05/20/ AR2010052002911.html. Kara Rowland, "Calderon Blames U.S. guns for Violence," The Washington Times, May 21, 2010, online at

Checking the reference (Washington Post, May 21, 2010) revealed a completely different statement from President Calderón.

"Calderón said his government had seized 75,000 guns in Mexico in a three-year period and found that 80 percent of those whose origin could be traced were bought in the United States."

80% of the guns whose origin could be traced! In fact, the only guns which can be traced are guns from the United States. Only one tracing system exists, and that is eTrace provided by ATF, which only has U.S. guns (made in the U.S. or imported) recorded. ATF could only trace 80% of those same guns? Not a good record for ATF.

Further, according to the Office of the Inspector General Report dated September, 2010, only about 1 in 100 guns seized in Mexico (1%) can be successfully traced for law enforcement purposes.

According to a 2009 GAO report (GAO-09-709), less than 25% of the guns seized in Mexico are actually submitted for tracing, yet the authors of the University paper try to convince readers that 80 percent of the guns seized came from the United States.

In addition, the report conveniently ignores U.S. made firearms furnished to the Mexican military or police, which are sold by corrupt Mexicans to the cartels, or brought to them by Mexican deserters from the military.

This is intellectual dishonesty.