Mexico is urgently calling for an investigation into the increasingly frequent discovery of U.S. military-grade weapons in the possession of Mexican drug cartels.
This pressing concern was voiced by Mexico’s top diplomat on Monday, highlighting a growing issue that complicates the country’s ongoing battle against organized crime.
Rising concern over use of advanced weaponry
The types of weaponry being found are alarming, including belt-fed machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades, which are typically not available for civilian use in the United States.
Foreign Relations Secretary Alicia Bárcena emphasized the seriousness of the situation, stating, “The (Mexican) Defense Department has warned the United States about weapons entering Mexico that are for the exclusive use of the U.S. army.”
She added, “An investigation into this must be carried out.”
Mexican army seizes extensive arsenal from cartels
Recent seizures by the Mexican military underscore the extent of the problem.
Since late 2018, they have confiscated 221 fully automatic machine guns, 56 grenade launchers, and a dozen rocket launchers from drug cartels.
The U.S. government has yet to respond to this issue, though comments from the U.S. ambassador to Mexico were anticipated later on Monday.
U.S. military weapons in cartel possession pose challenge to Mexican security
The presence of such military-grade U.S. weaponry, which cartels have not only acquired but also flaunted on social media, presents a significant challenge to Mexico’s security forces.
In a June statement, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval reported the recovery of rocket launchers from various cartels, including five from the Jalisco New Generation cartel and four from the Sinaloa cartel. However, he did not confirm if these were from U.S. military stocks.
While the Mexican army and marines maintain superior firepower, other law enforcement branches often find themselves outgunned by the cartels.
Mexico tackles U.S. gun smuggling and legal battles amid strict gun laws
This issue is compounded by the long-standing problem of semi-automatic rifles, legal in the U.S. but smuggled into Mexico, where gun laws are much more rigid.
Mexico has taken legal action against U.S. arms manufacturers and gun shops, holding them responsible for contributing to the violence.
In related developments, Foreign Relations Secretary Bárcena also discussed recent talks with U.S. officials concerning migration issues.
U.S. targets transport firms over irregular migration routes
The U.S. plans to impose sanctions on airlines and transportation companies that facilitate irregular migration through South and Central America to the U.S. border.
Bárcena relayed, “The United States said it was going to impose sanctions on South American and Central American companies that are transporting migrants irregularly, and they want us to do the same.”
Mexico urges expanding U.S. CBP app coverage to manage asylum-seeker flow
Furthermore, Mexico is seeking modifications to the U.S. CBP One mobile application, which is currently designed to work only in northern Mexico.
Bárcena suggests extending the app’s coverage further south to prevent the rush of migrants to Mexico’s northern border cities, aiming for a more orderly and managed approach to asylum-seeker appointments.