HomeInvestigationsCPI: Romanian Weapons Modified in the U.S. Become Scourge of Mexican Drug War
INVESTIGATIONS

CPI: Romanian Weapons Modified in the U.S. Become Scourge of Mexican Drug War

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 2 FEB 2011 BY BY RICK SCHMITT AND RICK YOUNG* EN

(With permission from the Center for Public Integrity.)

Camron Scott Galloway, 21, walked into X Caliber Guns in Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 30, 2008, and filled out forms for the purchase of six AK-47 rifles.

Reliable and powerful, and a bargain at about $500 each, the Romanian-made gun, a semiautomatic version of the iconic Kalashnikov assault weapon, had become popular with the drug cartels in Mexico.

Galloway, who eventually pleaded guilty to gun charges and became a cooperating prosecution witness in a broader case, testified that he agreed to act as the purchaser of the Romanian AKs on behalf of a co-worker’s brother, who was trafficking weapons south of the border. Just for doing the paperwork, he earned $100 per rifle.

Four months later, one of the same guns that Galloway signed for surfaced in a safe house used by the Beltran Leyva drug cartel in northwest Mexico. The discovery followed a deadly shootout between federal agents and drug dealers in Culiacán, the capital of the Pacific state of Sinaloa. Eight police officers were killed.

In the grim accounting of death and violence from Mexico’s drug wars, the episode might be written off as a footnote. After all, almost 35,000 people have been killed in violence in the four years since President Felipe Calderón began deploying troops and federal police throughout Mexico to ratchet up the fight against the cartels.

Read full story at the Center for Public Integrity…

*Schmitt is a freelance reporter. Young is a producer for FRONTLINE/Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Other Stories in the Series:

GunRunners: Introduction to the Joint Project

How Guns are Trafficked Below the Border

How the Beltran Leyva, Sinaloa Cartel Feud Bloodied Mexico

The Takedown of the ‘Boss of Bosses’

IRW: Romania, Vermont, Arizona: Guns Follow Complex Route to Mexican Cartels

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 29 OCT 2020

Salvadoran authorities recently claimed that an anti-gang campaign has led to thousands of weapons being seized. But the numbers and…

ELITES AND CRIME / 16 MAY 2016

The expulsion of three mayoral candidates in Tamaulipas state by Mexico's ruling party amid allegations they are working with organized…

MEXICO / 18 MAR 2013

A decline in cocaine seizures since 2006 is evidence of Mexico's decreased importance as a transit country for drug shipments,…