July 9th, 2009
05:15 PM ET

Mexico: Economics and the arms trade

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/18/us.mexico.arms.report/art.rifles.afp.gi.jpg" caption="Assault rifle magazines are among weapons seized in April in northern Mexico near the U.S. border."]

Scott Stewart and Fred Burton
Global Security & Intelligence Report

On June 26, the small Mexican town of Apaseo el Alto, in Guanajuato state, was the scene of a deadly firefight between members of Los Zetas and federal and local security forces. The engagement began when a joint patrol of Mexican soldiers and police officers responded to a report of heavily armed men at a suspected drug safe house. When the patrol arrived, a 20-minute firefight erupted between the security forces and gunmen in the house as well as several suspects in two vehicles who threw fragmentation grenades as they tried to escape.

When the shooting ended, 12 gunmen lay dead, 12 had been taken into custody and several soldiers and police officers had been wounded. At least half of the detained suspects admitted to being members of Los Zetas, a highly trained Mexican cartel group known for its use of military weapons and tactics.

When authorities examined the safe house they discovered a mass grave that contained the remains of an undetermined number of people (perhaps 14 or 15) who are believed to have been executed and then burned beyond recognition by Los Zetas. The house also contained a large cache of weapons, including assault rifles and fragmentation grenades. Such military ordinance is frequently used by Los Zetas and the enforcers who work for their rival cartels.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Mexico
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Diane Stark

    If Polygimists in Mexico can't have guns to defend themselves against the drug cartels; what makes us think we can take guns away from innocent people in the U.S. to defend themselves?

    July 10, 2009 at 5:54 am |
  2. James Fleming

    This is no surprise because Mexico is a lawless nation who's law enforcement only pretend to battle the drug cartels under the direction of the US government. The Mexican police are actually a part of the export of drugs from that country into the US. Ask yourself. Why would the US government not invade Mexico to prevent the smuggling of this deadly business across it's borders when they have invaded Afghanistamn to look for people in caves who aren't there? Oops! Because they are controlling this trade! So the attacks or the so called war on terrorism in Afghanistan must be the American government trying to control the production and trading of Opium. They've got to keep control of the production of their precious heroin and legal pain killers to keep the people of the US doped up so that they can continue to steal our money, freedom, and civil liberties. Like they ever really existed.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:39 pm |