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Arms trafficking on the rise in Mexico’s northern border
Tijuana is the main location for arms trafficking – Photo: David de la Paz/EL UNIVERSAL

Arms trafficking on the rise in Mexico’s northern border

14/09/2019
09:45
Mexico City
Gabriela Martínez
-A +A
At least 80% of firearms in Mexico enter through the northern border and over 50% come from the U.S.; Texas and California are the main exporters

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Since 2016, Baja California is the first place in Mexico on the seizure of firearms according to the Executive Minister of the Public Security National System (SESNSP).

In addition, also since 2016, the U.S. government warned that the state was not only an essential point for arms trafficking but that they were assembled there to prevent them from being tracked.
 

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In a report from that year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that Baja California, and especially Tijuana, is not only the entry for arms trafficking, but that organized crime groups have chosen to rebuild them to prevent being tracked.

“Recent seizures of arms, pieces, and equipment used to assemble or manufacture firearms in Mexico suggest an emerging instance from organized crime,” says the report.
 

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GAO found a similar situation in Guadalajara, Jalisco regarding the assembly of weapons.

In that report, GAO informs that traffickers that arrive in Mexico use alternative markets to purchase them, such as gun shows in states of the American Union, where they do not need to perform a criminal background check.
 

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Texas is the main arms exporter to Mexico, followed by California, with 18%, which is located next to Baja California.

No one is exempt from arms smuggling, according to state authorities, who remember that last March, the State Preventive Police (PEP) arrested a singer and informed about arms seizure.
 

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Later on, in the singer’s house, ministerial federal officers seized metallic pieces, apparently gun tube, 56 233-mm cartridges, a charger for 223-mm, several metallic pieces of firearms, two plastic pieces (handles for firearms) and a lathe.

Baja California, four weapons a day. The SESNSP adds that in 2016, Baja California hit the first place in arms seizures and investigations, with 1,017 files opened, followed by Guanajuato, with 950, and Tamaulipas, with 924. A year later, the entity was, again, the first place of the country with 1,180, followed by Michoacán, with 1,156, and Tamaulipas, with 1,128.
 

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For 2018, Baja California was the lead once again, with 1,155 investigations for gun law violations, followed by Guanajuato, with 1,086, and Michoacán, with 941.

While from January to July 2019, the federal government has already opened 795 investigation files in Baja California due to violations to the Federal Firearms and Explosives Act, that is, an average of 4 seized firearms per day, although in each file there could have been more, according to the SESNSP.

During the first semester of 2019, Baja California is followed by Mexico City, with 635 arms seized, and the State of Mexico, with 623.

Regarding the rise of violence, from the beginning of his administration – on November 1st, 2013 – Francisco Vega de Lamadrid has said that one of the main challenges was arms trafficking and the ease with which they could be purchased in the country, mainly in the U.S. border. During an interview in 2018, he said that at least 80% of firearms in Mexico enter through the northern border and over 50% come from the United States.
 

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