Assault weapons smuggled and imported legally from the United States to Mexico are a big and growing problem — as chilling events this week in three different Mexican states — illustrate.

Assault weapons trafficked into Mexico were used in an ambush and massacre of police officers in Michoacán on Monday, in Guerrero on Tuesday, and in a gunfight between Sinaloa police and gunman yesterday.

On Monday, thirty gunmen attacked police in Aguililla, Michoacán, killing 14 members of state police who were on their way to pick up a witness. Press on the scene identified used shells from .223 and 7.62 calibers used in assault weapons as well as military rifles. They also documented holes in police vehicles caused by .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles. All such caliber weapons are not legally sold to civilians in Mexico but are commercially sold in most U.S. states.

Then Tuesday, in the state of Guerrero, 13 armed civilians – allegedly gang members – shot at Army patrol near the city of Iguala, killing one soldier. Soldiers responded, killing thirteen of the attackers. The military recovered six AK-47 rifles, six AR-15s, a Galil rifle, hand grenade, and six handguns at the scene.

On Thursday, heavily armed gunmen in Culiacan, Sinaloa surrounded and fired on police who had detained the son of “El Chapo” Guzmán the notorious kingpin now serving a life sentence in the United States. The gunmen forced Guzman’s release using Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles that are available from gun dealers in Texas and Arizona, and regularly trafficked over the border to Mexico.

Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico has just published a map of illegal firearms recovered by the army in Mexico from 2010 through 2018, together with a map of licensed gun dealers in U.S. border states, by city.

We call on elected officials and activists who support a ban on assault weapons to speak out on the human toll of these U.S.- sourced weapons in Mexico.

For more information, contact:
John Lindsay-Poland
Stop US Arms to Mexico
A Project of Global Exchange
Tel: 510-282-8983