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.  

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

DRUG POLICY / 14 FEB 2019

In January 2018, US authorities began following a Bulgarian biochemist named Antov Petrov Kulkin who they believed was running a…

MEXICO / 13 APR 2012

The murder of eight taxi drivers in a Monterrey suburb appears to be the latest assault by organized criminal groups…

AYOTZINAPA / 6 NOV 2019

The brazen murder of several children and women from a prominent American Mormon family by cartel gunmen in northern Mexico…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …