"Such weapons include firearms they identify as coming from their own military or police forces, or guns that they can trace back themselves as being sold through the Mexican Defense Department’s Arms and Ammunition Marketing Division," he writes.
(For more on U.S. arms ending up in Mexico, see "U.S. Needs to Stop Flow of Guns Into Mexico, Experts Say," from June 2010; American Gun Flow into Mexico Must be Stopped, Lawmakers and Officials Say," from March 2009; and "An 'Iron River of Guns' Flows South" by John Barham from the June 2008 issue of Security Management.)
STRATFOR's intelligence brief goes on to describe where certain classes of cartel weapons come from geographically, and why globalization and Latin America's black-arms market ensure that cartels will always procure the powerful weaponry they need to ply their trade—even if the U.S. government could prevent American guns from ending up in cartel hands.
"There has clearly been a long and well-documented history of arms smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border," Stewart concludes, "but it is important to recognize that, while the United States is a significant source of certain classes of weapons and ammunition, it is by no means the source of 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican cartels, as is commonly asserted."
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