HomeNewsBriefClandestine Arms Factories Discovered in Mexico
BRIEF

Clandestine Arms Factories Discovered in Mexico

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 8 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

In what appears to be a first, Mexico's authorities have discovered two arms manufacturing sites in the country's turbulent state of Jalisco, in what could be a new strategy for criminal groups to obtain homemade, high-grade weapons.

 In an on-going investigation, Jalisco's Attorney General Luis Carlos Najera Gutierrez de Velasco announced on October 7 that two residences converted into make-shift laboratories for arms manufacturing had been discovered in the capital city Guadalajara in a joint operation between US and Mexican officials, reported La Jornada.

Police arrested four men in connection to the operation, who are suspected of being part of an arms trafficking ring that sells illegal weapons to Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (JCNG), as well as other organized crime groups in neighboring Michoacan, reported Excelsior.

In a statement, Attorney General Najera said he believed parts of the materials to build the weapons -- which were modeled after the popular AR-15s, a high-caliber rifle -- were sent from a group in the United States and were put together in the clandestine factories.

According to Najera, 18 rifles were seized by police during the operation, and 100 AR-15s have already been sold, presumably to criminal groups in the region, reported Informador.

InSight Crime Analysis

The reported discovery of a domestic arms laboratory in Mexico is a first and evokes many unanswered questions. The most important of these is why these arms trafficking rings would build weapons within Mexico at all, especially given the cost considerations of building them locally and the heavy and still largely unchecked flow of arms from the United States to Mexico.  

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Arms Trafficking

For years, Mexican criminal groups have bought rifles in bulk using straw purchasers in the US, then had them smuggled across the border in small chunks. In a notorious case, US federal agents allowed gun dealers to illegally purchase thousands of weapons between 2006-2011 in an attempt to trace the flow of guns that end up in the hands of criminal organizations in Mexico so they could arrest a high level kingpin buyer. The kingpin was not arrested and the guns were used in crimes in Mexico and, most famously, against a US border agent in Arizona in a firefight that left the agent dead.

Former President Felipe Calderon has blamed Mexico's high level of violence on lax US gun laws, as a high percentage of weapons found at crime scenes were bought in the United States. This latest discovery, however, may point towards a troubling new possibility: that of criminal groups obtaining parts abroad, perhaps even over the Internet, and putting them together en masse at home in their basements.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 15 JUL 2016

As the trial of Zetas Cartel leader Marciano Millán Vázquez continued in San Antonio, Texas, witnesses took the stand to…

MEXICO / 5 MAY 2014

One perennially conflictive northern Mexican state has seen a sudden drop in murders, a happy development that officials attribute to…

DRUG POLICY / 28 SEP 2016

A new report sheds light on how the US pharmaceutical industry has poured millions of dollars into an effort to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…