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

COCAINE / 4 FEB 2021

Drug trafficking has been reconfigured in Guatemala. The large clans that traditionally dominated the business have broken up.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 7 MAR 2022

Authorities in Mexico recently seized an historic amount of high-powered weapons and ammunition in a northern border state, laying bare…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 17 NOV 2020

A series of assassinations on Ecuador’s southern border with Peru have been attributed to gang members fighting for control of…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…