Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 25, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

The Unwomanly Face of War

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Ear to the Ground
Email this item Print this item

Mexican Drug Lords Depend on Gun-Crazy America

Posted on Feb 25, 2009
Flickr / Marcin Wichary

More than 6,000 people died in Mexico’s drug war last year, far too many as a result of U.S.-purchased firepower. Though Mexico has strict gun laws, smugglers have no trouble legally purchasing military-grade weapons, such as AK-47 rifles, in the U.S., and then shipping them south of the border, where they are used with devastating effect.

New York Times:

Drug gangs seek out guns in the United States because the gun-control laws are far tougher in Mexico. Mexican civilians must get approval from the military to buy guns and they cannot own large-caliber rifles or high-powered pistols, which are considered military weapons.

The ease with which Mr. [George] Iknadosian and two other men transported weapons to Mexico over a two-year period illustrates just how difficult it is to stop the illicit trade, law enforcement officials here say.

The gun laws in the United States allow the sale of multiple military-style rifles to American citizens without reporting the sales to the government, and the Mexicans search relatively few cars and trucks going south across their border.

Read more

Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:

Get a book from one of our contributors in the Truthdig Bazaar.

Related Entries

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By Hack, August 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now,I know your not comparing the cartel murdering drug smuggling, corrupt gov. country of Mexico to the United States of America. Mexico having tougher gun laws is proof banning guns wont work, case in point Mexico, as for Mexicans buying them here then going to their country to use them. All I can say is either they are using fake IDs…here’s a thought guard our borders stop our guns (which by all accounts is the only defense we have against any gov oppression) from leaving our country, do the same with our money as it is a drain on our economy when money leaves the country to the likes of Mexico.(cash leaving the US is one less investment in our country). Hey there’s a story they could report, oh wait this is the NYT, yeeaaah, I think I’ll get my news elsewhere. thank you very much.

Report this

By J, August 2, 2010 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Show me a single FFL dealer in the US that sells automatic AK-47s, or any other automatic firearm and/or assault rifle, to civilians. You can’t, because there are none. Perhaps the author has never heard of the National Firearms or Firearm Owners Protection Acts?

Mexican drug cartels have no need to buy guns in America, they can purchase them for FAR less money through the black market in Mexico, which offers a much more suitable selection of weapons.

If the author is implying that they are modifying semi-automatic weapons after-market, he should take that issue up with the weapons manufacturers.

If the issue is with private sellers trading in weapons which are exempted from normal control, the author should realize that no legislation can aspire to successfully regulate and control commerce between individuals.

It is evident that this was intended as an anti-gun hit-piece, but it fails miserably. Instead of focusing on the blatantly obvious problem - the presence of agents of foreign drug cartels in the US and the government’s unmitigated failure to control the nation’s borders as per Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution.

Report this

By Clarkson, June 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The gang war in Mexico is to provide the US with drugs - that, plus most of the guns used are also from the USA.  Everything else is just blabbing, excuse making, and wasted analogies. Long story short, you guys suck.  Get it together, judas priest.

Report this

By HF101, March 3, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Uuuh, which one is it?  crime lowers when gun law is tougher, such as in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Newark and NYC ...OR the laws dont keep criminals from accessing weapons in the first place (thereby rendering the first point moot)

Aye, guns kill and cars make you drive drunk laddie!


Report this

By KeLeMi, March 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The gun argument is bogus. Crimes are lower in areas where there is tougher gun laws. These laws don’t prevent criminals from buying guns on the black market.

Report this

By HF101, February 27, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...high explosive mystery rounds, microchips and all on the legal firearm purchaser’s dime. I guess the Pittman, Robertson act is not enough. There must be some way to have the states cede further representation of their citizens and that sound like a good way. and we can never have enough bureacrazy, why the same dept. could manage the taxpayer funded relief effort for all those poor innocent slobs maimed accidently by our mini bombs.
We coud call the this new branch the: Department Of Prepared Explosive Suprises.. D.O.P.E.S. reporting to serve the American public. International govenment failures abound and It’s only the American citizen’s generous surrender of their rights that will save them! ‘Scuse me fella’s my Unicorn’s scratching at the door, seems there’s a Leprechaun coming up the driveway
to try’n sell me some pixie dust. Think I’ll microchip the little f****r.

Leave my shells in the box please.


Report this

By Old Ed Of The Delta, February 26, 2009 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Sometimes we have to think outside the box.

When we interdict ammunition of calibers that can be used in semi-automatic and automatic weapons in the US or at our borders, let these shipments pass through speciously.

Before we let the ammunition pass through we insert some rounds containing high explosives in the shipment that when fired in the weapons of these calibers render the weapon useless.

These “hot” rounds are intended for use by people who are definitely operating outside the law and specifically targeted at killers for the drug cartels in Mexico.

We can expect some “collateral” damage as such injuries to fingers, hands, and eyes who may or may not be engaged in some unlawful activity.

But this would be a chilling effect for those who use smuggled ammunition that is used to kill people.

Report this

By coloradokarl, February 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment


Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 26, 2009 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

If the Gazans were more heavily armed with personal weapons, the Israelis would think twice before launching a ground invasion.

Gaza does make a good case that antiaircraft and antiarmour missles should be allowed to certain individuals, like in Switzerland.

Report this

By JimM, February 26, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

I detect some implications here that legalizing the drugs will render the drug gangs obsolete.

What the hell will this do to Wackenhut and our burgeoning prison industry?  This is big, big, fairly recession proof industry we have going here. Let’s build more prisons!

Report this

By GaryA, February 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Opponents of the drug wars must hate honest, American workers. If we decriminalized drugs, and thereby made obsolete and unnecessary drug lords to supply the illicit contraband, thugs would stop buying American-made guns and ammo. That’d mean fewer guns being sold and lost jobs in the guns and ammo manufacturing sector.

With this punk economy, we can scarcely afford to lose more jobs!

The answer is clear: ratched up our drug laws, thereby supporting the drug lords who furnish a service supplying American drug demands. In turn, the lords will keep using our guns and ammo to kill Mexicans, diminishing in the process the pool of potential immigrants, and they’ll need our our weapons and so keep our factories humming.


Report this

By Old Ed Of The Delta, February 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

It’s A Question of National Security.

Every gun retailer on the US boarder should be immediately shutdown for 30 days.

All of these weapons in the retailer’s inventory should have a G.P.S. chip with a long life rechargeable battery in bedded in the weapon in such a way it cannot be removed. The weapon cannot be fired unless the chip is charged and fully operational.

Any firearm found to be without the above chip will either be destroyed or the barrel and trigger mechanism permanently welded closed and returned to the owner of record. There will be a charge of $1.00 for this service.

The whereabouts of the firearm will be know at all times. The chip will be so programed that if carried through a US border crossing an alarm will be activated. The cost of the chip and power source will be added to the price of the firearm.

The bolts and trigger assemblies should be removed prior to sale. The buyer can pick these assemblies up at a government operated agency for a minimal charge with positive identification of the recipient.

Reassembly of these parts to be done at an registered licensed authorized gunsmith. Again, this cost is to be borne by the owner.

Ten day waiting period . No multiple sales of any firearms. Only one firearm to be sold to any individual every 30 days.

All documentation pursuant to the above is to be in the English language.

Report this

By DMFD, February 26, 2009 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for clarifying Blackspeare.  I just have a hard time with someone telling me I cannot legally own or have the same thing a criminal can use against me. I also agree that our drug laws are “draconian” and should be changed.  I think California is moving in the right direction by putting the legalization of weed on the voters block.  All states could be so lucky

Report this

By michael, February 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

lets see mexico does not let people own guns and has a terible problem with gangs drugs and murder.
washington DC did not allow people to own guns and had problems with gangs drugs and murder.  is it just me that sees a connection here?  Oh and texas and florida crime rates dropped after allowing conceled weapons.

Report this

By HF101, February 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whoa, AWM, let’s not get crazy here..we can work something out.


Report this

By HF101, February 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lesee…would that ol’ family shotgun be break-barrel ala ‘Elmer fudd’, pump or semi-automatic? As usual the perception of what constitutes a ‘military assault weapon’ comes from familiarity with those SCARY Hollywood herofests more than anything seated in reality like true firearms (oneword) law. Not only are fully automatic weapons automatically illegal in the great states of the union, but ‘military assault’ shotguns have been in use for some time now, so where do we draw the line? I’ll tell you..AT THE BORDER boys & GIRLS! Besides, It’s way hard to pop a coke-dusted, home invading squirrel with a shotgun and NOT hit the family member he’s holding hostage. Now THAT’S scary.


Report this

By squeaky jones, February 26, 2009 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lets get this understood. There is acres of money to be made in guns and drugs;so, is there any wonder that Mexico and the U.S. has drug gangs on the border making all that money. To get guns into mexico you just drive them from the U.S. into Mexico. Corruption runs deep on both sides of the border. squeaky.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 26, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment


“You know, the government and criminals prefer unarmed peasants.  Your thoughts?”

I never said I am opposed to fire arm ownership——just military assault weapons which fit a very narrow category.  If you want to protect family and property the best weapon is a shotgun, using 12 gauge ammo.  These weapons are quite formidable, affordable, and effective——just the report alone is scary.  You don’t need an AK-47!

Report this

By scared, February 26, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

The violence won’t stop until we end prohibition.  The violence can’t stop until we end prohibition.  Boy, you’d think we’d have learned that lesson by now.  The problem here obviously isn’t gun control, it’s the availability of profits in the drug trade.  You can restrict weapons all you want, with those billions of dollars in untaxed profits, those weapons are getting through one way or another.  With the amount of money these gangs bring in, handling the appropriate payoffs probably take about as much effort as getting a cup of coffee in the morning.

Plus, the most violent drug gang in Mexico was trained by the US.

Los Zetas were “originally members of the Mexican Army’s elite Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, trained in locating and apprehending drug cartel members. It is believed that they were originally trained at the military School of the Americas in the United States.[6][7] Also, they were trained by foreign specialists, including Americans, French, and Israelis, in rapid deployment, aerial assaults, marksmanship, ambushes, small-group tactics, intelligence collection, counter-surveillance techniques, prisoner rescues and sophisticated communications.”

Hmm, let’s see.  Risk your life and well being fighting drug cartels at normal salaries.  Or protect said cartels and traffic your own drugs for enormous profits.  Must have been a tough choice for those elite forces we trained.

There is no military solution to the drug war.  Nor do the vested interests in it want the drug war to end.  Shame it’s come at the expense of the safety of Mexicans, Columbians, Venezuelans, Bolivians, Americans, and many others.

Report this

By DMFD, February 26, 2009 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

You did read the part about civilian’s (law abiding) having to go through the military for approval to get a firearm didn’t you?  Doesn’t look like the bad guys are following the rules.  Imagine that.  If these law abiding citizens had a means of protecting themselves maybe fewer of them would be getting killed by these drug cartels.  Hell, the damn cops won’t even stand up against them.  Tell me Blackspeare, if you lived there would you want to be able to protect yourself?  You know, the government and criminals prefer unarmed peasants.  Your thoughts?

Report this

By AWM, February 26, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

American weapons are flooding into Canada as well. Two thirds of gun crime in Canada is committed using weapons smuggled from the US Tell what you keep your guns and we’ll keep our pot hows that for a deal

Report this

By HF101, February 26, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hold on to your hats people, ‘the game is afoot!’ let’s not confuse that rag-tag psuedo democracy south of the border with a people tried and true in their God given (AND 2nd Amndmt) rights to protect themselves, their familes and their country against those that would harm us. yes, sounds like it but as much as some of you would like this is not just ‘righty-rhetoric’... stands to reason that Mexico is overrun with crime lords and dictator-like govt. heirarcies BECAUSE they have s**t for rights to begin with. How it truly must SUCK to have a govt. that doesn’t even have to pretend to have it’s citizen’s interests in mind. Blame us for their short comings? what a scream! Border criminals run free with the blessing of a govt that appreciates NOT having to feed its poor and huddled masses. Bent over and blindfolded at the border? I think not, but I will offer a glass of water to the wretch ever so desperate to escape that tourists paradise and resident hellhole, with equal parts lead for the coca-crazed gangbanger with a penchant for home invasion.

Still my America, Hangfire 101

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 26, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Last time I heard about Mexico and guns, it was that cheap Chinese-made assault rifles were being smuggled into the U.S. via Mexico in spite of their supposedly stringent gun laws.

But maybe the problem with these gang wars in Latin America isn’t insufficiently restrictive U.S. gun laws, maybe it’s the overly restrictive U.S. drug laws, which make drug smuggling such a profitable business.  Or is the idea of a powerful, intrusive government just to attractive to abandon?

Report this

By michael, February 26, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

another idea instead of taking guns away from american citizens how about this


Report this

By SexyLegz, February 26, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America’s draconian drug laws keep Mexican drug lords in power ~ Prohibition has never worked!  Don’t see the Budweiser guys shooting up Miller guys!

Report this

By michael, February 26, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Though Mexico has strict gun laws, “
and the criminals still get guns
lets see I can either buy an ak47 ar ar15 in america then modify it to be fully automatic or I can buy one from the local police that alreadys is or buy one in the flea markets.  We the russian and cuba have been shipping tons of weapons to central and south america for years.  the people are not using modified weapons the are using military weapons.  I dont think you can buy RPGS and gernades at guns shows.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, February 26, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Every household needs an assault weapon capable of automatic fire.  You never know when those squirrels in your back yard are going to mount an all out attack!

Report this

By melpol, February 26, 2009 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Keeping our nation crime free is our first national priority and we should all share in that responsibility. Every eye should be open and every ear should be listening for illegal activity. Generous monetary rewards can be given to those that report a crime. It would give every honest person the chance to earn some extra money. In time locks and keys would be thrown in the junk yard and we would become a nation of honest people.

Report this

By mud, February 26, 2009 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

To win our long US holey war against certain drugs we should send a strong message by initiating round the clock carpet bombing of Mexico, Canada and California.

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook