U.S. citizen tried to smuggle 13,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico

The Trump administration agreed to curb arms trafficking in 2019

U.S. citizen tried to smuggle 13,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico
Mexico has strict gun-control laws and has long complained that weapons and ammunition smuggled in from the United States - Photo: Morry Gash/AP
English 21/09/2020 12:53 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Amalia Escobar/EL UNIVERSAL, AP Actualizada 12:53
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Last week, the Mexican government caught a U.S. citizen trying to smuggle 13,000 rounds of ammunition at a border crossing in Nogales, Sonora, across the border from Arizona.

Mexico’s National Guard said that officers and customs authorities were checking incoming vehicles at the Nogales crossing when a car with Arizona license plates crashed into another vehicle when it tried to avoid the checkpoint.

Officials then found the ammunition in 13 boxes in the trunk of the car. No further details were provided about the U.S. driver, who was taken into police custody.

The National Guard said the ammunition was “high caliber,” which usually means it was meant for assault rifles.

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Mexico has strict gun-control laws and has long complained that weapons and ammunition smuggled in from the United States, where regulations are laxer, have fueled the country’s drug cartel violence.

In October 2019, the Trump administration agreed to curb arms trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico.

Back then, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Foreign Minister, announced President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Donald Trump agreed to implement several measures to curb the flow of illegal weapons from the United States into Mexico.
 
During a phone call between the two presidents, López Obrador told Trump that he proposed “both countries use technology to close the border, to freeze the traffic of arms that is killing people in Mexico,” Marcelo Ebrard told reporters.
 
“And Trump responded that he thought it was a good idea that this could be done using technology,” Ebrard said, adding that the proposal includes installing advanced lasers equipment, X-rays, and metal detectors at all border crossings.
 
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Not only could the new strategy halt the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico, but also drug trafficking into the United States, Ebrard said.
 
López Obrador also told Trump “he was very concerned” that cartel members used .50 caliber, armor-piercing rifles during a shooting in Culiacán, when authorities briefly detained Ovidio Guzmán, El Chapo’s son, in October 2019.

The two Presidents agreed that Mexican and U.S. officials would meet to discuss the different options, and would announce the measures to “freeze” illegal imports of weapons into Mexico.
 
The Foreign Minister also said the Mexican armed forces need better training and technology, emphasizing that there is still an “outstanding arrest warrant for Ovidio Guzmán and other people and the corresponding authorities have to do what is necessary” to carry out the arrests.
 
Mexico estimates that over 80% of the weapons used by criminals in Mexico enter the country through the U.S. border, and has previously urged U.S. officials to take gun trafficking more seriously, arguing that the number of guns in the country makes it much harder to defeat drug traffickers.

Mexico demands information on the infamous “Fast and Furious” operation

On May 11, Mexico sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. government, demanding information on whether Mexican government officials knew about the failed 2009-2010 “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.
 
In the note, Mexico’s Foreign Affair Ministry, led by Marcelo Ebrard, explained that if Mexican officials were aware of the scheme, as some testimony suggests, then they violated the country’s laws; however, if Mexico wasn’t notified about the operation, then “Mexico’s sovereignty would have been violated” by U.S. agents, the Ministry said.
 
During the so-called “Fast and Furious” operation, U.S. federal agents allowed criminals to buy firearms to track them to criminal organizations but it went wrong when the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives lost track of most of the guns, including two found at the scene of the 2010 killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
 
Authorities who conducted the investigation faced criticism for allowing suspected gun buyers for a smuggling ring to walk away from gun shops in Arizona with weapons, rather than arrest them and seize the guns.
 
The investigation’s failures were later examined in U.S. congressional hearings. Many of Mexico’s drug cartel killings are carried out using the weapons smuggled in from the United States; the operation had been meant to stem that flow.
 
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