HomeNewsBriefGuatemala to Sign Agreement with US to Trace Illegal Weapons
BRIEF

Guatemala to Sign Agreement with US to Trace Illegal Weapons

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 8 NOV 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Guatemala is set to gain access to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) weapons tracing system, to track arms confiscated from criminal groups in the country.

Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz declared that the new agreement would give Guatemala access to the ATF's database, which is also used by Mexico to track the origin of seized weapons, reported Prensa Libre.

Paz y Paz also noted that granting access to Guatemala, a key transit country for illegal weapons, is a vital step in helping monitor arms trafficking throughout the region.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to a recent report by Plaza Publica, there are over 1 million weapons circulating in Guatemala, some 800,000 of which are unregistered. In 2007, the country had the highest number of guns per head of population in Central America. Many of these weapons are left over from the country's civil conflict, with guns from both rebel and government stockpiles circulating on the black market. This black market for firearms is mostly controlled by criminal networks that evolved from civil war-era security forces, known as the Illegal Clandestine Security Apparatuses (CIACS).

Many weapons in Guatemala also come from the transnational illicit arms trade. Guatemala's attorney general found last year that the vast majority of illegal weapons seized in the country had been sourced from Honduras, which has some of the more lax gun laws in the region.

Guatemala's illicit weapons are not always destined for domestic criminals, with many transported north on to Mexico. While US Justice Department data suggests that up to 70 percent of weapons recovered in Mexico over the past five years can be traced back to the United States, other sources have suggested that Guatemala's CIACS play a major role in providing firearms to Mexican criminal organizations such as the Zetas.

Access to the ATF's weapons tracing system will help the authorities determine where their efforts should be focused in combating the illicit arms trade in the country.

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

EXTORTION / 26 APR 2019

A visit to a women’s prison in the city of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, shows the increasing role that women play in…

GUATEMALA / 5 APR 2012

Guatemala, with the help of the US, is set to establish a special army unit tasked with combating drug trafficking…

GUATEMALA / 16 DEC 2011

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Guatemala’s president-elect Otto Perez Molina say they plan to increase intelligence sharing between…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…