HomeNewsBriefUS Busts 'Zetas' Gun Ring in Texas
BRIEF

US Busts 'Zetas' Gun Ring in Texas

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 19 JUL 2012 BY MICHAEL KANE EN

Twenty people have been arrested in Texas accused of being members of a ring which trafficked weapons to the Zetas drug gang, drawing attention again to the role of the US in supplying weapons to Mexican criminals.

The detainees are accused of forming part of a “straw buying” ring that provided at least 33 automatic rifles to the Mexican drug gang late last year. Ten of the 20 accused pleaded not guilty in a court in San Antonio, reported Notimex. According to the indictment, they claimed on the federal form for gun buyers that the weapons were for their personal use, when they were in fact buying them for the Zetas.

The indictment names a Mexican citizen as the ringleader of the group, who asked each buyer to purchase automatic weapons, paying them $300 per gun. He allegedly told one of the buyers that he was supplying the guns to the Zetas, reported the San Antonio Express-News website.

InSight Crime Analysis

The case is an example of a method commonly used by Mexican drug gangs to get weapons, commissioning “straw buyers,” who usually have clean criminal records, to circumvent laws that prevent foreigners from buying guns in the US. Once legally purchased, the guns are smuggled into Mexico. Indeed, last year a high-ranking member of the Zetas told the authorities that all of the group's guns were bought in the United States and smuggled into Mexico across the Rio Grande.

Despite some attempts by the Obama administration to stem the flow of weapons across the border, there is little political will for real reform to US gun control legislation. The furor over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) botched “Fast and Furious” operation, which critics say allowed guns to “walk” across the border in the hopes of building cases against more high-ranking criminals in Mexico, has made gun control reform an even more heated issue.

A recent piece in Fortune magazine, however, reported that contrary to the claims of Republican critics in Congress, the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to illegally move across the border.

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

ARGENTINA / 26 APR 2022

Authorities in Chile are sounding the alarm over repeated seizures of small quantities of arms being trafficked through Argentina, especially…

HOMICIDES / 9 AUG 2022

Little clarity has followed the brazen assassination of a local police chief in northern Mexico.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 4 MAR 2021

Paraná is a hub for drug trafficking. Vast quantities of cocaine and marijuana enter the state from Paraguay, via the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…