Smuggling guns into Mexico?


May 10, 2007, 11:36 AM
Here is a thread in the public portion of a website called

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i was working to day (driving logging truck) and the loader broke down and while thay were working on it a started talking with some of the mexicans. and we started talking about guns and thay asked me if a had any gun,s i wonted to sell (i sead no of corse) but thay told me that during the year that buy as meny guns as thay can aford and at the end of the season thay smuggal them back in to mexico, becouse thay get a 1000 dollers for a ruger 10-22 and 2500 dollers for ak,s , sometimes thay make as much on the firearms as thay do working the year.i found that quit intresting to say the least..

Does this sound plausible or does this look like a myth?

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May 10, 2007, 11:39 AM
Sounds like BS? I think Nightline had an episode where they asked migrant workers from Mexico about smuggling guns INTO the US. They showed them a bunch of guns/pictures of guns and asked them how much it costs in Mexico to get one. AKs were like $100, ARs were $200-$300 and various pistols were like $100.

Essex County
May 10, 2007, 11:50 AM
As an ex Border Rat, I doubt it. Essex

May 10, 2007, 12:04 PM
Despite the strictness of Mexican gun laws, I don't think getting a 10/22 legally would be that much of a problem down there.

El Tejon
May 10, 2007, 12:09 PM
My guys tell me that AKs go for $100 and you can get hand grenades and RPGs as well, but not as readily.

Shear, you are correct. 10/22s are very popular with farmers to shoot vermin. Fairly easy to get a permit for a .22. Many of my guys are country boys and grew up with a .22 around.

Smuggling American ammunition is where you make your money. New, clean American ammo is gold apparently.

May 10, 2007, 12:39 PM
Who could afford such high prices? Maybe drug dealers, but you think they have a problem buying from local corrupt police and military?

May 10, 2007, 12:58 PM
in law enforcement circles that a lot of the money made in running drugs north is used to purchase guns to run south. Military/military style semi-autos (especially M1 carbines) were extremely popular for the southward trek a few decades ago when I worked in San Diego County.

There are probably more military guns coming into Mexico along their southern border at this time, AK's and other "surplus" from various Latin American countries going to narco-terrorists and leftist political malcontents. Mexico is ripe for revolution. (You think we have an illegal alien problem now, let a shooting revolution break out south of the border and watch the flood come north.)

May 10, 2007, 01:15 PM
New, clean American ammo is gold apparently.

no kidding!


May 10, 2007, 04:52 PM
A friend of mine in Oaxaca told me that 50 rounds of 9mm FMJ would bring $100 and that he could sell a Sig P228 or similar pistol for $1500 usd.

May 10, 2007, 04:59 PM
Stolen cars and firearms both seem to make their way south I have read. I bet other items also. I haven't a clue except what I have read but with a border as open as ours are you can be sure smuggling is going both ways. It's been over 20 years since I drove across the Mexican border but back then all you ever got was a smile and a wave on through going south.

May 10, 2007, 05:49 PM
Had an uncle who spent a few months in Mexico doing some electrical work, said that during his time there he was offered everything from old revolvers to full auto's (mostly Soviet Blok weapons. Also drugs and prostitution were very prevalent.

May 10, 2007, 06:25 PM
Smuggling guns into Mexico?

Since when has anyone ever had to smuggle anything into Mexico? No one checks your stuff when you are heading south.

I knew/worked-with a person who was pretty high-up in Mexican politics (his brother once ran for President), he was driving a brand new Chevy Suburban that was loaded to the gills, including 2 televisions. He paid US$5000 for it...

May 10, 2007, 06:48 PM
I am sure this is old.

Star-Telegram Washington Bureau

-- Federal investigators say it's a simple matter of supply and demand.

Warring Mexican gangs need weapons and are reaching into the bountiful and legal supply just across the border to build their arsenals.

Because of rigid firearms restrictions in their country, authorities say, Mexican criminals are increasingly dispatching operatives to sporting goods stores, gun shows and flea markets in Texas and other states to load up on assault weapons, pistols, shotguns and ammunition.

The firearms are then smuggled into Mexico to become implements in the country's drug wars and other criminal activity.

"It's extremely widespread," said J.J. Ballesteros, chief of the Corpus Christi office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and one of the agency's leading experts on firearms trafficking in Mexico.

With thousands of firearms dealers and a 1,240-mile-long border with Mexico, Texas is an easily accessible "source state" for cross-border gun traffic, investigators say. The transactions typically involve "straw purchasers" -- U.S. residents with clean records -- who get widely varying fees to buy weapons for Mexican customers.

ATF agents in Mexico trace the origins of weapons recovered from crime scenes and suspects. Between 5,000 and 7,000 firearms are traced each year, Ballesteros said, and most come from the United States. He said he believes that the confiscated weapons represent "only a drop in the bucket" in the flow of arms from the United States.

Mexican officials have appealed for help from the U.S. government to help control firearms trafficking. ATF Director Carl J. Truscott met with his Mexican counterparts late last year in what U.S. officials described as a "shoulder-to-shoulder" assault against the illegal flow of guns.

A key element of the assault is the 6-month-old Operation Black Jack, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to combat the surge of violence along the border. The operation includes the ATF and other U.S. agencies as well as Mexican law enforcement.

In October, members of the Black Jack team looking for a slaying suspect raided a home in Laredo and found 10 automatic weapons being readied for shipment across the border. An illegal immigrant arrested in the raid was guarding the guns for a cell controlled by Mexican crime boss Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, a leader of one of the feuding drug cartels, ICE officials said.

Investigators say their cases often unfold after customers are seen leaving retail stores with what appears to be an unusual amount of weaponry or ammunition. Store employees also tip officials to oversized purchases.

Last year, ICE agents in Brownsville last year arrested a married couple trying to transport 17,650 rounds of ammunition into Mexico after they were seen leaving a Wal-Mart with a large purchase. The couple stockpiled much of the ammunition in a bus station locker, investigators said.

Jose Luis Gonzalez, a Laredo gun-store owner and former assistant high school band director, began serving a 37-month sentence in May for arranging the fraudulent purchases of 86 firearms.

Witnesses told ATF agents that Gonzalez paid them $50 to $100 to falsify firearms-transaction forms. Some of the guns, witnesses said, were intended for Mexican drug dealers, while others stayed in the United States.

'Big problem'
"It's a very big problem on the border, especially here in Laredo," said Homero Arce, a gunsmith at Brush Country Guns in Laredo. "I'm no longer selling more than two handguns. A lot of people are doing that around here."

Jorge Montiel, manager of Brownsville's Wal-Mart Super Center, said his employees work with federal agents and alert authorities to dubious activities. "We let them know of any suspicious purchases," Montiel said by phone.

U.S. border towns offer the easiest access to customers in Mexico, but an increasing number of weapons are being purchased in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston for shipment south of the border, says Al Pena, agent in charge of ICE's San Antonio office.

"Most of these people are opportunists looking for what they believe to be easy money," Pena said. "There's no turning back once they've involved themselves."

In addition to firearms from the United States, Pena says, investigators have recovered weapons traced to the Mexican military. A smaller amount comes through the international black market from countries in the former Soviet Eastern Bloc.

The surging demand in Mexico is fueled largely by a gang war to control one of Mexico's richest drug-smuggling corridors, in the Nuevo Laredo area, across from Laredo. Authorities say other potential customers include garden-variety criminals, kidnapping rings and revolutionary groups operating deep in the country's interior.

Mexico has one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the hemisphere, permitting ownership of a few types of guns, mostly small caliber. The nation of 103 million has fewer than 2,500 registered gun owners, according to a recent report in the *Los Angeles Times*, and the wait for a license can often be more than a year.

By contrast, a smorgasbord of firepower is available in the United States, where a ban on assault-style weapons expired in September 2004. Among the most popular firearms for Mexican purchase, federal investigators say, are semi-automatic AR-15s, AK-47s and Tec-9 pistols.

Customers of federally licensed gun dealers are required to show identification and fill out an application. An instant background check determines whether the customer has a felony conviction or other legal blemishes that would prevent a purchase.

Private owners, who often sell part of their collection at gun shows, are not required to conduct a background check. In Texas, people can buy guns and ammunition in unlimited quantities, according to the ATF, but excessive purchases might cause suspicion.

"You can literally outfit an army out of a gun store, and it's being done," said Ballesteros, of the ATF.

The criminal cartels often arrange gun traffic through the same organizational structure used for smuggling drugs, Ballesteros said. A criminal boss, he said, might place a weapons order with a high-ranking subordinate, who will arrange for a middleman in the United States to recruit a group of purchasers, often friends or relatives who have never had a brush with the law.

Drugs for guns
Payments vary. A group of straw purchasers in Douglas, Ariz., got $400 for each AK-47 purchase. Other times, the commission is a percentage of the cost of the gun. Purchasers are often paid in drugs instead of money.

The weapons are smuggled into Mexico in a variety of ways, often in hidden compartments in vehicles or aboard inner-tube floats across the Rio Grande. Smugglers also attempt to conceal them while walking across international bridges.

Webb County Sheriff Rick Flores of Laredo said his deputies recently stopped a southbound pickup with two AK-47s strapped to the undercarriage and ammunition in a hidden panel in the tailgate.

Authorities in both countries say the arms trafficking has created a well-fortified criminal force that has also become increasingly brazen. Flores recalls a confrontation that occurred after drug smugglers trying to flee his deputies in a car chase deliberately drove their van into the Rio Grande.

As the Texas officers watched from the U.S. side of the river, men with AK-47s gathered on the other side while the suspects in the water unloaded their cargo from the partially submerged van.

"They were challenging us," Flores said of the gunmen. "In English, they were saying, 'You want to play?' "

Flores said the U.S. officers disengaged rather than get entangled in an international shootout. But he said the incident was a reminder of the constant danger, prompting the sheriff to reiterate his order for deputies to always wear body armor and stay alert.

"The weapons are making their way southbound, and who knows how many are getting by without getting stopped?" he said.

"I don't think the violence is going to lessen. I think it's going to get worse."
Fort Worth Star Telegram (

May 10, 2007, 07:11 PM
Relative to the ease of going south across the border, it's much harder than it was a few years ago although not as as hard as going north. I was chairman of our missions committee at First Baptist Church in San Marcos for 3 years and we usually made three trip to Mexico every month. Two groups to Piedras Negras where we had two childrens homes and one trip to Via Acuna where we had a clinic and doctors in our church staffed it. They made it very difficult to bring any thing used across the border and that was important for clothes, etc. for the children. We finally had to set up a wharehouse on the U.S. side and let the native pastors pick up the goods, which was legal. The big difference is that we were abiding by the letter of the law and a lot other people don't. With the new passport restrictions it will get even tougher and I hope it doesn't dry up the missions work.

May 10, 2007, 07:18 PM
I work with alot of mexicans and they are always asking me to sell them a gun (I usually carry one at work) . The best offer I've had is $700 for my CZ75B :what: , I usually ask them for the proper ID (Alien firearms card and CCW) but they never produce them .

May 10, 2007, 07:32 PM
I thought about bringing a wornout BM to Mexico and then disassembling it and burying the pieces it in the desert somewhere before leaving.

They never checked us but sometimes the Army checkpoints will stop gringos and search their cars so I didn't want to risk it and what if I had to use it? Thats still a likely long sentence in a Mexican prison.

I just took a knife and barrowed my brother's tazer which are perfectly legal to bring with you.

May 10, 2007, 07:51 PM
FTF sales, even in Gregoiretopia, are largely unregulated you know?:evil: No ID required.

Buyer: Hey Gringo, I will pay you $700.00 for that Czechnology there.

Seller: You have $700.00 cash? I can't take credit cards, and screw Paypal.

Buyer: Yeah, see here. (Shows roll of bills.)

Seller: Count it off to 700.00 then.

Buyer: (Counts off seven C-Notes) Here you go.

Seller: (Holds each bill up to sun in a rare cloud break.) This one's fake, give me another.

Buyer: Hey man, I have no idea where that one came from.

Seller: (Clears weapon and hands it over with an empty mag) Just in case you are thinking about it, I am carrying a bigger and loaded gun.

Buyer: Hey man, no problemo.

Seller: You gonna need some ammo for that? That's extra.

Point is that you, as a private seller, do not have a duty to ascertain anything more than it is unlikely that the dude is a minor and that he is not imminently committing a crime or announcing that his intentions are to do something illegal with the weapon. It is the buyer's burden, if caught possessing the weapon under questionable circumstances, to prove he was not a prohibited purchaser.

Now there is an undeniable problem that $700.00 is steep for a CZ-75 and indicates an illegal buyer is fixated with a FTF transaction for more than market value, but if that value is within the range of base weapon in a private party sale, plus the cost of any mags more than two, taking into account both the time, or the transfer fee and shipping costs of finding a comparable weapon with a known ownership history, it is not beyond the pale to say that your CZ was worth $700 to a rationally motivated or just plain ignorant buyer.

CZ-75: FTF ~400.00 INTERNET ~$400.00
Shipping: FTF=$0.00 INTERNET ~$35.00
X-Fer: FTF=$0.00 INTERNET ~$35.00
Xtra Mags: FTF=included INTERNET ~$40.00 per factory mag
Background Check Fee: FTF=$0.00 INTERNET $10.00

With five total mags the Internet transaction would be at or a little over $600.00
It would be easy to chalk up the "extra" $100.00 to buyer motivation or stupidity, not apparent criminal conduct.

Maybe an undocumented worker needs home protection or maybe he wants to flip it to an unlicensed pharmacist? It's not your inquiry to make if you don't feel like it and don't make a habit of selling weapons to run afoul of being accused as a back of the trunk dealer.

Personally, I'd avoid the hassle of an eventual trace. Obviously, others don't.

Bwana John
May 11, 2007, 01:09 AM
I cross the border back and forth about 4 times a year.
It would be very easy to smuggle firearms and ammo into Mexico.
Crossing the border is no problem 39 out of 40 times, but if it looks as if you are bringing taxable items (building material ect...) into the country you do get stopped.

The BIG problem would be the Army roadblocks, sometimes one every 100km. 50% of the time they do inspect your rig, and ~10% of the time they do a good job searching.

BTW-firearms are NOT illegal in Mexico, just highly regulated. Most ranchos have a .22 or a .30-30, and I used to hunt ducks and quail all the time down there with shotguns provided by our hosts.

If you ask nicely the Soldados will let you play with their firearms... (

May 11, 2007, 09:37 AM
Why would a Mexican buy a semi auto knock-off AK for big bucks from the US when he can buy a real full auto AKM from Guatemala for about $250.00 US??

If American gunrunning was such the real problem in Mexico why do they keep turning up Mexican made G3 and MP5 subguns in Narco hands?

May 11, 2007, 09:45 AM
Because of rigid firearms restrictions in their country, authorities say, Mexican criminals are increasingly dispatching operatives to sporting goods stores, gun shows and flea markets in Texas and other states to load up on assault weapons, pistols, shotguns and ammunition.

Articles like this have ONE POINT and ONE POINT ONLY and that is the above paragraph. If they can beat people into saying that Gun Control keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, then people will accept it defacto.

In a country were the army works for the drug lords, how can they need to purchase weapons from Walmart? Trust me, drugs are big business and they are not enlisting Walmart, most likely they (drug kingpins) are shipping them in and bribing people. Let's not be naive.

BTW I get the feeling that the dude on the board was a fed or the guys he was talking to were feds...

May 11, 2007, 09:52 AM
Not to hijack your thread....
When I worked as an ATC in Brownsville there was a smuggling operation alive and well. Primarily electronics, and some other things, were loaded into stripped down Cessna 207's, and smuggled into Mexico. The Mexican's would sometimes chase them back to the border, but with an unarmed twin-engine there wasn't much they could do.

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