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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 25 MAY 2011

Three employees of an Arizona sheriff have been arrested on charges of working with Mexican drug traffickers, and…

COLOMBIA / 19 MAY 2017

A recent visit by top US officials to Mexico and a meeting between the presidents of Colombia and the United…

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 23 JAN 2019

Border Patrol agents have found several large Central American migrant groups crossing the US-Mexico border along remote stretches of desert…

About InSight Crime

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. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…