Photo: Cartels Get Guns in U.S.
Federal officials are saying that the recent gun raids in Arizona show how well drug cartels are exploiting the U.S.’s gun laws to obtain large numbers of firearms, the firearms being used to fight their drug war in Mexico.
Tuesday, 20 people were arrested for allegedly buying massive quantities of AK-47s at U.S. gun stores.
Those arrested were reportedly claiming to be buying weapons for themselves, when in fact, they were purchasing guns for the Sinaloa Cartel as well as other Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
U.S. attorney for Arizona Dennis K. Burke expressed that “the massive size of this operation exemplifies the magnitude of the problem – Mexican drug lords go shopping for war weapons in Arizona.”
Officials said that those buying the guns from U.S. gun stores managed to pass federal background checks without raising any alarms despite the fact that they often paid with large amounts of cash.
Many of the guns purchased across a number of gun shops in Arizona were AK-47s which were actually banned by the federal government in 1994, only to become legal once more in 2004 when the ban lapsed. And while firearms dealers are to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives when a customer buys two or more handguns, they do not have to report when someone buys an AK-47 or other long guns from them.
ATF officials are hoping to change that, and say requiring sellers to report long guns would be invaluable in catching buyers like those purchasing guns for drug cartels.