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Posted: 6/14/2007 7:03:59 PM EST
By DUDLEY ALTHAUS
Houston Chronicle

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MEXICO CITY— Amid plans for a regional push against drug traffickers, U.S. officials are vowing to intensify efforts to stop the southward smuggling of the guns feeding Mexico's rampaging gangland violence.

"It's not just a Mexican problem," said Dewey Webb, the agent in charge of the Houston district office of the U.S. Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF.

"We share that border. We share the responsibility for stopping these weapons coming into Mexico," Webb said. "In Houston, it's our number one priority."

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales met with senior Mexican and Central American officials to strategize on a regional anti-narcotics campaign. Gonzales promised that as part of that drive, American officials would enhance efforts to stop the flow of U.S.-sold weapons to Mexican gangs.

Webb and other senior ATF agents from border states conferred with their Mexican counterparts here this week on ways to improve cooperation.

The meetings come as President Felipe Calderon's administration struggles to contain the underworld fighting that has taken as many 1,200 lives so far this year and killed more than 2,000 people last year.

Mexican officials, who have been critical of U.S. anti-narcotics efforts in recent months, claim to have traced to the United States as many as 95 percent of the weapons seized from drug gangs.

About half the weapons confiscated here in recent years have been traced back to South Texas, said Webb, whose district covers most of the Texas-Mexico border.

A gun bought in Houston, for instance, was used in the killings of police officers in the Pacific Coast resort of Acapulco earlier this year. Many of the weapons recovered following a shootout last month near the town of Cananea, near the Arizona border, were tracked to South Texas, Webb said.

"The level of violence, the caliber of the weapons used, the type of weapons being used, the frequency in which they're being used -- that's what's new," Webb said in an interview here."That's the reason we're ramping up and putting more resources into this."

Since taking office in December, Calderon has deployed 30,000 soldiers and federal police to cities along the U.S. border, the Pacific resort of Acapulco and his home state of Michoacan. Though popular with the public -- recent polls show an 85 percent approval rate -- the military offensive has failed to stop the violence, or, presumably, the flow of drugs to the United States.

The weapons trade has been a lucrative one along the U.S- Mexico border since 1968, when tougher gun laws were enacted in Mexico, Webb said.

A semi-automatic rifle like an AK-47 or an AR-15 that sells for about $400 in Texas can be sold for up to $1,500 in Mexico, he said.. The weapons can be modified easily to become fully automatic. But most of the guns recovered from crime scenes in Mexico remain unmodified semi-automatics, he said, meaning that one bullet is fired with each squeeze of the trigger.

U.S. state and federal laws have helped the gunrunning business along. For instance, while initial weapon sales from authorized dealers are recorded by law in Texas, no records are required for their resale.

And though documentation is required if a person buys more than one gun within five days from the same dealer, no one keeps track of an individual's purchases made in the same time frame from various dealers.

To skirt reporting requirements, gunrunners often use people with no criminal records — paying them hundreds of dollars per weapon in the process — to buy guns for them.

In one recent Texas case, ATF agents arrested a couple, their daughter and a family friend for making as many as 170 so-called "straw purchases" on behalf of smugglers. A McAllen gunshop owner was convicted of falsifying documents on 100 weapons headed for Mexico.

Southbound guns often are moved across the border in small loads hidden in cars or cargo that often receive receive rudimentary inspection by Mexican customs officials. Though many smugglers are small-time operations, Webb said his office targets more sophisticated groups moving larger numbers of weapons.

"We focus on the large groups because most of those are dealing directly with the drug trafficking organizations," Webb said. "We focus on what has the most potential for violence."

dudley.althaus@chron.com

Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:08:09 PM EST
Least we can give back to Mexico for all the drugs and illegal aliens. Keep the guns.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:08:53 PM EST
Yep. Stop the gunrunning TO mexico.

To hell with what's coming out of it, though.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:09:56 PM EST
+1.
We need to import weapons, not export them.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:10:12 PM EST
I thought the liberals were trying to get the guns out of the U.S.?
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:13:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2007 7:13:59 PM EST by DougH9]
If we didn't have an whorey open-leg boarder, guns could not pass over so easy.

Probebly the only reason our gov't cares is because they are tired of getting shot at by these guns.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:13:27 PM EST
Yeah the drug cartels have to resort to us purchased weapons...

Drug Lord:
Why that's genius I will pay to inport stolen US semi firearms as opposed to payng $25 for FA AK's
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:13:47 PM EST
Fuck that bullshit.

They don't give a shit when Mexicans kill people here, why should we give a shit that American guns are being used to kill people in Mexico?
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:15:02 PM EST
They have some nerve to complain!

I would like to see Mexico flooded with cheap Hi-Point carbines and pistols until they come around on the illegal alien problem.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:15:27 PM EST
If only they were as vociferous about stopping the illegals.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:16:08 PM EST

We share the responsibility for stopping these weapons coming into Mexico," Webb said.


I want to go kick this mf's ass. Make Mexifuck build half the wall and take care of their Mexipoor streaming across our border.
Link Posted: 6/14/2007 7:17:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2007 7:17:18 PM EST by 22bad]
This is almost funny, now they are going to stop the weapons from
going south while letting the drugs and slavers keep coming north
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 4:06:41 AM EST
Chris Hawley
Republic Mexico City Bureau
Jun. 15, 2007 12:00 AM


MEXICO CITY - Federal authorities do not have enough agents to regularly patrol gun shows, a major source for U.S. weapons used in Mexico's drug wars, a top official said Thursday during a visit to the Mexican capital.



Mexican officials have complained bitterly about how easy it is to buy firearms from private, unlicensed sellers at such shows, then smuggle them across the border. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales vowed last week to crack down on such gun-running, and top officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are in Mexico this week to talk strategy with their Mexican counterparts.



An undercover investigation conducted by the University of California-Davis and released Tuesday said illegal "straw purchases" are rampant at gun shows in Arizona and other states. But federal firearms authorities simply don't have the manpower to patrol gun shows, looking for such activity, William Newell, head of the ATF's Phoenix office, said in an interview with The Republic.


"We don't have enough agents to do that," Newell said.



Mexican drug cartels typically use straw purchasers, U.S. citizens with clean records who can pass a federal background check, to buy AR-15 and AK-47 rifles from licensed dealers at gun stores or gun shows, authorities say.



Gun shows also attract private sellers who are allowed to sell from their own collections. In many states, including Arizona, no background check is required for those sales.



Newell said the ATF often acts on tips about suspicious sellers at gun shows. But it doesn't do spot checks for illegal activities.



"We don't just arbitrarily pick out a gun show," Newell said. "We only go in there if we have good information that a particular individual or group of individuals is going in there . . . or specific information on a gun dealer that is selling off-paper."



That's unfortunate, said Garen Wintemute, a University of California professor of emergency medicine who wrote the study on gun shows. It was published this week in Injury Prevention, a scholarly journal for doctors and public health officials.



"They should absolutely be patrolling gun shows," Wintemute said. "The illegal activity I saw was being conducted right out in the open. The bad guys don't think the cops are there."



Using a hidden camera and his cellphone's voice mail to take notes, Wintemute visited 28 gun shows, including six in Arizona, during 2005 and 2006. He documented 24 straw purchases where someone bought a gun for another person, along with three other probable cases.



Some of these sales happened in the immediate vicinity of local, uniformed law enforcement officers, most of whom were attending the gun shows as customers, Wintemute said.



The study focused on gun shows in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Florida. It found less illegal activity at gun shows in California, where state law requires all gun sales to be done through a licensed dealer or broker. The state also has a 10-day waiting period for gun sales, meaning guns bought at shows are typically transferred to a licensed store for later delivery, Wintemute said.



Newell said the ATF's ability to intervene in gun sales is limited by federal law. But as drug wars become more violent on the Mexican side of the border, officials are putting more emphasis on trying to keep U.S. guns in the United States.



The ATF has opened new offices in cities near the border: Yuma; Laredo, Texas; Las Cruces, N.M.; and Chula Vista, Calif. In the past year, Newell said, the U.S. government has given Mexico nine dogs trained to detect ammunition and explosives, and since Jan. 1, has trained 125 Mexican officers in tracing and identifying weapons.



The ATF also wants to give Mexican investigators access to its electronic gun-tracing system as well as a computer system that compares bullets and spent cartridges to identify weapons, Newell said

Link Posted: 6/15/2007 4:19:40 AM EST
I wanna know where they're finding 400 dollar ARs at gun shows... last show I was at, there was a ban configured rifle going for 1200 bucks. I asked the guy at the counter why the high price, and he told me it was a limited edition--they were only made for 10 years.
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 4:24:51 AM EST
This is all just manufactured BS to elliminate FTF sales.

Nobody with 1/2 a brain would belive that cartels that roll with grenade launchers and full auto are clamoring to get their hands on nutered US firearms with traceable serial number.


Does anyone belive this BS ?


Just creating cover for action to appese the Fudds and sheep
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 4:33:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:
MEXICO CITY - Federal authorities do not have enough agents to regularly patrol gun shows, a major source for U.S. weapons used in Mexico's drug wars, a top official said Thursday during a visit to the Mexican capital.


Pure, unadulterated, grade A BULLSH*T.

Somebody PLEASE show me some numbers that backs this horsesh*t claim up.

....I won't hold my breath.




Mexican officials have complained bitterly about how easy it is to buy firearms from private, unlicensed sellers at such shows, then smuggle them across the border. U.S.


BULLSH*T. Again, somebody show me some bloody numbers on exactly how many of the guns used by gangs and drug slingers in Mexico have been purchased/stolen from the US....much less at gunshows.

This is "mexican officials" trying to YET AGAIN blame the US for THEIR OWN F*CKING PROBLEMS.




Mexican drug cartels typically use straw purchasers, U.S. citizens with clean records who can pass a federal background check, to buy AR-15 and AK-47 rifles from licensed dealers at gun stores or gun shows, authorities say.


Again, I want to see some numbers to back such a BULLSH*T statement up.
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 4:43:47 AM EST
I predict they will as successful as the DEA is at stopping drugs.
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 4:49:12 AM EST
Let's make them a deal. Stop sending Mexicans, and we will stop sending guns.



Seems fair.

Link Posted: 6/15/2007 11:41:40 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2007 11:42:04 AM EST by 22bad]

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:
"They should absolutely be patrolling gun shows," Wintemute said. "The illegal activity I saw was being conducted right out in the open. The bad guys don't think the cops are there."
--snip--
The ATF also wants to give Mexican investigators access to its electronic gun-tracing system
(Is that a database of American Citizens and the weapons that they own?)

as well as a computer system that compares bullets and spent cartridges to identify weapons, Newell said


Wow, illegal activity conducted right out in the open?

Have they even SEEN the border?

Talk about illegal activity out in the open
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 12:09:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2007 12:09:50 PM EST by Skibane]
BATFE Assumption: All guns illegally entering Mexico are destined for gangs.

Not Even On the BATFE's Radar: Mexico's own restrictive gun laws have left Mexican citizens clamoring for guns - any way they can get 'em.
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 12:12:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By Skibane:
BATFE Assumption: All guns illegally entering Mexico are destined for gangs.

Not Even On the BATFE's Radar: Mexico's own restrictive gun laws have left Mexican citizens clamoring for guns - any way they can get 'em.

have never been there but
I bet in MEX someone could score AK+RPG+RPK in say 45 min and thrown in some grenades for free
This is absurd Mexican criminals don't need to import stolen us firearms but someone wants the public to think that it happens
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 12:45:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:

Originally Posted By Skibane:
BATFE Assumption: All guns illegally entering Mexico are destined for gangs.

Not Even On the BATFE's Radar: Mexico's own restrictive gun laws have left Mexican citizens clamoring for guns - any way they can get 'em.

have never been there but
I bet in MEX someone could score AK+RPG+RPK in say 45 min and thrown in some grenades for free
This is absurd Mexican criminals don't need to import stolen us firearms but someone wants the public to think that it happens


I used to spend my summers in Mexico buth in Nuevo Casas Grandes and Torieon(M/S)

this was back in the 80's early 90's as an avid shooter...I asked my uncle how to get guns in mexico...he said you go see this guy and get what you want but it was very illegal....he told me they only came to the U.S. for guns in the target/custom pistol type...for target shooting and fun....he said RPG's, AK's Phillipino M16;s(not sure what he ment by that)...they would go to south America ......wonder if this is still true.....

he said that for America's gun culture vs. control in mexico....only federalies and criminals had full auto......regular guy...a sling shot/illegal pistol....not to mention all ammo being illegal/registered hard to get
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 12:54:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By 22bad:
This is almost funny, now they are going to stop the weapons from
going south while letting the drugs and slavers keep coming north


You know those minnow traps they make?- minnow can swim in, but can't get out. Picture, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, giant minnow traps, lined cheek to jowl, and all pointing North. Problem solved.

"We're just selling them guns Mexicans won't sell them!"®
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 1:00:03 PM EST
You know what might stop this... We could build a BIG FUCKING WALL along our border to solve all of Mexico's problems.
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 1:06:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By callgood:

Originally Posted By 22bad:
This is almost funny, now they are going to stop the weapons from
going south while letting the drugs and slavers keep coming north


You know those minnow traps they make?- minnow can swim in, but can't get out. Picture, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, giant minnow traps, lined cheek to jowl, and all pointing North. Problem solved.

"We're just selling them guns Mexicans won't sell them!"®


Group Buy?
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 1:09:54 PM EST

Originally Posted By cornholio123:
You know what might stop this... We could build a BIG FUCKING WALL along our border to solve all of Mexico's problems.


I have it on good authority that a wall will not work

However, the people that want illegal "immigration"

seem to be complaining about the wall the most
(s american countries, some people here........)

Sooooo.........maybe we could just spend about a tenth

of what the illegals cost us in our schools, hospitals and jails

to just give it a try, and see it if works, every little bit helps
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 1:18:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By 22bad:

Originally Posted By cornholio123:
You know what might stop this... We could build a BIG FUCKING WALL along our border to solve all of Mexico's problems.


I have it on good authority that a wall will not work

However, the people that want illegal "immigration"

seem to be complaining about the wall the most
(s american countries, some people here........)

Sooooo.........maybe we could just spend about a tenth

of what the illegals cost us in our schools, hospitals and jails

to just give it a try, and see it if works, every little bit helps


No you misunderstand...

I agree a wall could never stop illegal immigration. To even suggest a wall to keep people out is inhumane. The wall would only be to prevent the illegal guns from the US flowing into Mexico. I think we owe it to our neighbors to the South to build such a wall.
Link Posted: 6/15/2007 1:26:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By cornholio123:

Originally Posted By 22bad:

Originally Posted By cornholio123:
You know what might stop this... We could build a BIG FUCKING WALL along our border to solve all of Mexico's problems.


I have it on good authority that a wall will not work

However, the people that want illegal "immigration"

seem to be complaining about the wall the most
(s american countries, some people here........)

Sooooo.........maybe we could just spend about a tenth

of what the illegals cost us in our schools, hospitals and jails

to just give it a try, and see it if works, every little bit helps


No you misunderstand...

I agree a wall could never stop illegal immigration. To even suggest a wall to keep people out is inhumane. The wall would only be to prevent the illegal guns from the US flowing into Mexico. I think we owe it to our neighbors to the South to build such a wall.


Okay, but we will have to have one-way doors in it to still allow
the drugs, slavers and terrorists to be able to come to the US
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