Firearms confiscated in Mexico

Mexico’s arms imports grew by 331 percent over the last five years, compared to 2006-2010, raising more concerns over the government’s reluctance to scale back the militarization of the drug war.

The report (pdf), compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), notes that arms imports to the Americas decreased by 6 percent from 2011-2015 versus 2006-2010. Despite this, Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil all saw a rise in imports.

According to SIPRI, weapons imports to Mexico included “a variety of transport aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, basic ground-attack aircraft, armed helicopters, patrol boats and light armoured vehicles.”

The US comprises the largest percentage of exports to Mexico, “account[ing] for 52 percent of deliveries to Mexico during 2011–15 (in many cases as military aid), followed by Spain with 19 percent and France with 10 percent."

As another point of comparison, weapon important to Iraq grew 86 percent between the same time period. 

Overall, international weapons transfers increased by 14 percent between 2011-2015 compared to 2006-2010, the report stated. 

InSight Crime Analysis

This tremendous 331 percent increase in weapons imports since 2011 doesn’t reflect President Enrique Peña Nieto’s original campaign vows to assume a different approach to Mexico's conflict. In fact, it is questionable how necessary the increase was, given that violence began to stabilize in 2012 near the end of Felipe Calderón presidential term. US officials have acknowledged that in 2014, Mexico spent over $1 billion in military equipment via the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, a 100-fold increase from previous years. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Mexico

The concern behind militarization is that Mexico's security forces have a mixed record when it comes to battling organized crime, with widespread reports of abuse and torture. Critics say that continuing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in arming these security agencies is not the best use of resources, and does nothing to address the social problems that help cause crime

Asides from being Mexico's bigger trade partner for military equipment, the US is also a primary source for illegally trafficked small arms. According to a report last year by Mexico's Attorney General's Office, more than 70 percent of weapons that were seized and successfully traced between September 2014 and July 2015 originated in the US. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

Juarez after the War

Juarez after the War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...