OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
2:25 PM – Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Mexico has requested a critical investigation into how United States military-grade ammunitions are quickly being discovered in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, according to Mexico’s highest diplomat.
On Monday, Mexico’s top ambassador stated that the country is demanding an immediate investigation into the growing number of instances in which Mexican drug cartels are found in possession of weapons from the U.S. military.
Rocket launchers, grenades, and belt-fed machine guns that are not sold to civilians in the U.S. have been discovered by the Mexican army.
“The (Mexican) Defense Department has warned the United States about weapons entering Mexico that are for the exclusive use of the U.S. army,” Foreign Relations Secretary Alicia Bárcena announced. “It is very urgent that an investigation into this be carried out.”
Back in June of 2023, the Mexican army announced that it had confiscated 221 completely automatic machine firearms, 56 grenade launchers, as well as “several rocket launchers” from Mexican drug cartels since 2018.
The cartels have openly boasted about their U.S. military-grade weaponry on social media platforms, making them a special threat to Mexico’s army, which has already faced attacks from these groups using bomb-dropping drones and homemade armored cars, in addition to police forces and the National Guard.
Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval announced in June that the Jalisco New Generation cartel had been discovered to be in possession of five rocket launchers, four of which had been stolen from the rival Sinaloa cartel, and three more had been taken from other cartels. However, Sandoval made no mention of the weapons originating from the U.S. military.
The U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, declared on Monday that the matter had been brought up by Mexican officials during meetings last week. However, Salazar claimed that he was previously unaware of the issue and maintained that the U.S. would investigate further.
“We are going to look into it, we are committed to working with Sedena (Mexico’s Defense Department) to see what’s going on,” Salazar stated.
Officials say that there are “several reasonable explanations” through which the weapons could have arrived in Mexico. During ongoing cartel conflicts in the 1980s, U.S. military hardware was widely dispersed throughout Central America. Occasionally, military-grade equipment would “vanish” from U.S. stockpiles, and some suppliers to the U.S. military could have sold their equipment and weaponry overseas or on the black market.
Even though the Mexican army and marines continue to possess superior weaponry, other branches of Mexican law enforcement are frequently outclassed by the major drug cartels’ arsenal.
The country’s drug cartels’ arsenal of weapons also often outclasses that of other arms of Mexican law enforcement, despite the army and marines possessing superior munitions.
Mexico has long struggled with the smuggling of semi-automatic rifles, which are legal for civilian use in the U.S., into a country where only low-caliber weapons are allowed and strictly regulated. Mexico has filed a number of lawsuits against American gun retailers and manufacturers, claiming that their products are being smuggled into the country and inciting violence.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Mexican government believes that 70% of the weapons that are trafficked into Mexico originate in the U.S.
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