DJ was right. He’s long maintained that while drug cartels may be getting some weapons from straw buyers in the US this couldn’t possibly account for the huge numbers of weapons they have nor are such weapons powerful enough.
He recently commented on a post here about straw gun buyers being arrested in Arizona.
Always the accountant, I note that 38 guns [bought by one person arrested] is a mere fraction of a percent of the 30,000-odd guns confiscated in Mexico each year. We now know that it happens. But to what degree?
If I was a drug cartel purchaser, working for an organization with unlimited money and excellent skills at covert shipping, I wouldn’t spend $450 (plus bribes) to buy an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle that can be gotten by the handful across the border. No, I’d by caseloads of full-auto AK-47s at $100 apiece (or less) from Somalia and other places around the world.
Anyone using an American-bought AK-47 semi-auto would be seriously outgunned.
As it turns out, much of the weaponry is indeed coming from the US. But it’s not via small purchases from gun shops. Narco News presents convincing evidence based on Wikileaks cables and their own investigations that seriously heavy weaponry used by the US military is finding its way, sometimes legally sometimes otherwise, to Mexico and the cartels. This is military-grade weaponry and is not available in gun stores. (That semi-auto AK you can buy in some US gun shores is comparatively, a pea shooter. Full auto AKs, while legal in some areas, are strictly controlled by the federal government and require a special license. They are also very expensive, like $15,000 vs. $100 in Somalia. Thus, they aren’t trafficked in the States.)
Those [firearms] exports are approved through the State Department, under a program known as Direct Commercial Sales. A sister program, called Foreign Military Sales, is overseen by the Pentagon and also taps U.S. contractors to manufacture weapons (such as machine guns and grenades) for export to foreign entities, including companies and governments.
The State Department cables recently made public by WikiLeaks do seem to confirm that the U.S. government is very aware that much of the heavy firepower now in the hands of Mexican criminal organizations isn’t linked to mom-and-pop gun stores, but rather the result of blowback from U.S. arms-trading policies (both current and dating back to the Iran/Contra era) that put billions of dollars of deadly munitions into global trade stream annually.
Narco News says weapons sent to the Contras by the US have been refurbished and are now being used by drug cartels. They note that a shadowy company here in the States has been shut down after being accused of illegally trafficking for years in firearms, including gun barrels.
As the death toll mounts in the drug war now raging in Mexico, it pays to remember that weapons trafficking, both government-sponsored and illegal, is a big business that feeds and profits off that carnage.
So, we have the despicable spectacle of major US banks admitting they laundered money for drug cartels (and getting off with fines and not prison for those responsible) while US military grade weaponry somehow keeps finding its way to those same cartels. Sounds like Third World corruption, doesn’t it?
Among the blowback from the odd refusal of the US to imprison money launderers or to stop trafficking of military weaponry is a new genre of video, that of real-life torture and murder by one cartel against the captured members of another cartel or law enforcement.
A dramatic video has surfaced titled “brother of Patricia González la piñata,” where various masked men assault a man with a bat and an electric stungun. The victim is presumably Mario González, brother of a former prosecutor for the state of Chihuahua, whose previous interrogation videos were released on YouTube.
Let’s legalize drugs, all of them. Portugal decriminalized use of all drugs ten years ago and their drug usage has dropped compared to the rest of the EU. This would also put an end to the violence and corruption. Hey, Joe Kennedy was a bootlegger who went legit when Prohibition ended and a generation later, his son became president. It’s not like we don’t have a precedent for legalizing what was once illegal.