Mexico has demanded the U.S. investigate the source of illegal weaponry getting into the hands of the cartel. The weapons include belt-fed machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades. These are not sold to civilians in the U.S. or Mexico. Mexico’s Defense Department has warned the U.S. about the weapons entering the country and is urging them to quickly investigate.
In 2019, those same combat-grade weapons were used in a shootout between a drug cartel and security forces. Now they are finding more of the same weapons across the country, making it difficult for security forces, and the national guard to do their jobs.
The weaponry is used against Mexico’s security and military personnel, as well as other cartels. The cartels frequently use homemade armor equipped to vehicles and drones to drop bombs on their enemies. The U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Kim Salazar has said the U.S. was not previously aware of the problem but pledged to look into it.
There are a few locations of interest, primarily throughout Central America, which was flooded with U.S. weaponry from the conflicts in the 1980s. While Mexico’s army still has higher-grade firepower, cartels now match or outgun many other branches of Mexico’s security forces.
The hope between U.S. and Mexican officials is that they can find a sweeping solution to human trafficking, the drug trade, and the illicit arms trade in one fell swoop. Both sides have expressed a willingness to work together to secure the borders and interiors of both countries.
Right now, the U.S. and Mexico have their eyes set on transportation companies that are bringing immigrants through Mexico in poor conditions. Some of these companies are suspected of perpetuating the drug and arms trade while using immigrants and their families as a shield. Although it is specific, it is one method of transportation that both countries would likely have an easier time controlling to reduce the number of people, drugs, and weapons transported through Mexico or across the border.
Mexico has claimed that 70% of the weapons the cartels are using have come from U.S. arms manufacturers and have recently won a lawsuit claiming they can be held liable for deaths in Mexico. With this victory there is hope that U.S. arms companies will be more careful with whom they sell their guns to.