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As Violent Mexican Cartels Keep Acquiring US Military Weapons, Mexican Government Asks United States to Cooperate and Tackle the Issue

Mexico’s top diplomats appeared in front of media on Monday, expressing their concern regarding the increasing number of US military-grade weapons in the hands of top Mexican drug cartels. Mexico authorities demanded for an “urgent investigation” into the matter. Mexico army personnels have found advanced machinery like belt-fed machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades that are not even available for US citizens to purchase.

An Influx of US Military Exclusive Weapons 

Foreign Relations Secretary Alicia Bárcena addressed the issue in a press conference, stating that the Mexican Defense Departments have asked the United States government to initiate a probe in the matter, since majority of the weapons confiscated by the Mexican authorities are exclusively used by the US army. According to records released by the Mexican army, an approximate of 221 fully automatic machine guns, in addition to 56 grenade launchers, and a dozen rocket launchers were confiscated from multiple drug cartels since late 2018.

These military-grade US weaponry, which have been illegally owned by multiple Mexican drug cartels and recklessly flaunted on social media, have been a significant threat to the Mexican army, which along with the Mexican police officials and the National Gard have fought a long battle to eradicate these violent cartels from the Mexican society.

In June 2023, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval revealed that a total of five rocket launchers were discovered in the possession of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. In addition to this, four other rocket launchers were also discovered under possession of the Sinaloa cartel, with many other minor cartels also possessing these military exclusive weapons. Although Sandoval did not confirm that these weapons were US manufactured, some of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels (like the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa cartel) have flaunted US manufactured military weapons publicly.

Ken Salazar, the US ambassador to Mexico, confirmed to press that Mexican officials have brought up this issue at meetings conducted last week, with United States officials acknowledging the issue and “pledging” to look into it.

Mexico-US Partnership to Counter Terror 

Mexican political and social activists believe that there are a number of possible routes by which these illegal weapons may have entered Mexico. During the 1980s, Central America was swarmed with weapons manufactured in the United States, and some of these weapons can still be seen roaming the Mexican market. In addition to this, there have been reports of military grade weapons going missing from stocks in the United States, and some manufacturers who sell firearms to the US military might also have illegally sold some abroad and the black market.

Although the Mexican army still has the upper hand when it comes to military equipment and firearms, multiple drug cartels have, over the years, managed to outclass other branches of Mexican law enforcements, making it difficult for the Mexican government to stop their rein of terror.

Earlier this week, an appeals court in Boston, Massachusetts gave Mexican government a reason for celebration, after reviving a $10 billion lawsuit against seven us based gun manufacturers and one distributor. Mexican authorities believe that these manufacturers were aware that their weapons were being illegally sold to traffickers across the Mexico-US border.

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