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
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.