Federal authorities announced charges today against 34 Arizonans accused of buying about 700 guns in gun stores in the state on behalf of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.
This has been speculated on for months by both pro- and anti- gun supporters. Now we have what appears to be actual evidence that drug cartels are getting assault weapons in quantity from the US. The guns were bought from gun stores in Arizona. Authorities say one defendant, a straw buyer for a cartel, bought 38 AK-47 type rifles in about a month, lying that they were for his personal use
The arrests and seizures are proof that Arizona has become an iron highway for guns headed south of the border, according to federal authorities, who say they don’t know how many weapons are being smuggled into Mexico every day.
Yet Arizona is also subject to some of the worst drug violence in the country. BTW, all the defendants are US citizens or legal residents.
I would say this is a big problem. And I’m agnostic about guns.
Always the accountant, I note that 38 guns 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?
We also know that prohibition doesn’t work, and money can buy anything. Like the drug problem and the violence problem, the issue of guns crossing the border in whatever numbers is the result of a failed U.S. drug policy that allows these hoodlums to buy or coerce whatever and whomever they want.
OTOH… 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.
It was 700 guns total, the 38 guns was just one buyer. But yes, the cartels are just getting weapons anyplace they can. Drugs for weapons is a time-honored trade indeed.