At the end of 2019, 70 percent of the 34,582 victims of intentional homicide were murdered with firearms, more than half of these as a result of illegal trafficking from the United States. To date, the trend continues to rise, without the authorities of that country doing anything about it.
The data is getting scarier. Of the total number of weapons secure by the Army in Mexico during the decade from 2010 to 2020, 70 percent were manufactured in the territory of its northern neighbor and 30 percent in Europe.
Yes, in Europe, six countries did indeed manufacture 30 percent of the weapons that entered Mexico illegally, but of that time, 87 percent went through a US distributor.
The phenomenon, whose data has been collected above all by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) and by the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena), warns, for example, that from 2010 to 2018 323 .50 caliber rifles were confiscated in Tamaulipas and 53 in Sinaloa, but only from January 1, 2019, to January 21, 2020, the Sedena seized 71 Barret .50 rifles in different states. In Tamaulipas, 48; in Michoacán, nine; in Sonora, five, and in Sinaloa, two.
The Barret rifle is used by more than 70 security agencies in the world and is capable of piercing the armor of war tanks, military aircraft, and even shoot down helicopters – with one of these weapons the Secretary of Citizen Security of Mexico City, Omar García Harfuch, was attacked. It is manufactured in six states in the neighboring country: Tennessee, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, and Florida.
At that time, Guanajuato, in 2019, was the entity with the most intentional homicides: 3,540; 83 percent of them were associated with firearms, and from 2000 to 2019, homicides with firearms in Tamaulipas, Michoacán, and Sinaloa increased 318 percent, 353 percent, and 67.7 percent, respectively.
Each year, more than 200 thousand weapons arrive in Mexico; 41 percent come from Texas; 19 percent from California, and 15 percent from Arizona. Most are rifles and semi-automatic pistols. An example is the famous Cuerno de Chivo, preferred by drug traffickers.
In four states bordering Mexico, surely not by chance, there are – with data as of November 2020 provided by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agency (ATF) – 9,811 armories that supply, surely, to a good part of the drug cartels in Mexico.
In Texas, the largest offer.
Of course, Texas is the state with the highest number of these businesses: 5,938. The daily newspaper The Washington Post recently published very worrying data; It said that in Houston, Texas alone, there are 5,000 stores where you can buy guns.
Shortly before leaving the post in the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection, Alfonso Durazo affirmed that 15 million weapons circulate throughout the country and 85 percent entered the country illegally. There are very serious studies that warn that life expectancy in Mexico fell 0.5 percent due to violence.
This, although until a couple of years ago a survey by the Harvard University School of Public Health, the first one carried out in Mexico on gun owners, and which applied in nine of the most important cities in the country, yielded the following results To the question of how much do you agree with the idea that any Mexican can own a firearm?
In Mexico City, 27 percent disagreed with the possession of weapons and in almost all the cities surveyed, people preferred to achieve peace than to have a weapon.
For an important group of Mexican officials, the government of the United States, under the idea that the production and sale of weapons are not illegal in that country, equips Mexican drug trafficking, which also has the complicity of some agents of customs, a situation that tends to be corrected, but which still exists, officials said.
Mexico requires agreements that put an end to the indiscriminate sale of weapons in the United States, even if this, mainly in Texas, represents an attack on freedom. One of the officials who have pushed the possibility of achieving these agreements the most is Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, and it will surely be a high point on the agenda of the new Secretary of Security, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, given the problem it represents.
It is very likely that international demand will be promoted from the government to condemn and try to stop, in this way, the illegal transfer of weapons, and that is why now the data on the illicit in Mexico is increasingly precise and abundant.
The information available at the moment of the “operations” on arms trafficking from the United States says that in 2006 the Gunrunner project was armed, and with it, 12,000 weapons were located, of which 7,500 were presented by Mexico. Between 2006 and 2007 the Wide Receiver operation was installed, which identified just over 450 weapons; In 2007, the Hernández case occurred, which managed to prevent 200 weapons from entering the country.
In that case, the United States agents had information that Fidel Hernández and some accomplices had bought 200 weapons to smuggle them into Mexico. The man was arrested in Nogales, Sonora. They were brought to trial in 2009 but were released because the Mexican authorities who had seized the weapons refused to provide information.
Along with these cases, even the well-known Fast and Furious, there have been at least five major operations in which it is barely possible to recover some weapons if one considers the volume of those that arrive in our country illegally.
It is very likely that this year will be marked by an intense struggle by both Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez and Foreign Minister Ebrard to seek that the Democratic government of Joe Biden attend to Mexican claims, as much as the authorities here fight to prevent drugs from flowing towards the United States.