Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mexican drug cartels go shopping for their guns in Arizona

-- by Dave

In Arizona, everyone is freaked out about the violence by Mexican drug cartels south of their border, which was one of the reasons we repeatedly heard from leading state officials as one of their excuses for passing SB1070.

But then it turns out that the ease with which you can buy a gun in Arizona is fueling that violence directly:

The seizure of more than 700 guns and the indictments of 34 people announced on Tuesday are further confirmation that Arizona has become an iron highway for weapons into Mexico, according to federal authorities.

Many legal purchases by straw buyers at Arizona gun stores are being financed and orchestrated by Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, federal officials said.

The cases announced Tuesday involved the purchases of many AK-47s, .50-caliber rifles and other semiautomatic weapons in single-day transactions at gun stores by straw buyers paid by the cartel, U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke said.

"This is a huge problem in this state. It is a strange phenomenon," Burke said at a news conference at the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. "Drug cartels go shopping for their war weapons here in Arizona."

At least 17 people were arrested Tuesday in five cases involving a joint crackdown by the ATF, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service and the Phoenix Police Department.

Gee, I can remember when, a couple of years ago, Obama administration officials pointed out that many of the guns being used by the Mexican drug cartels were being originating in the USA -- and the NRA and Glenn Beck exploded in angry denial, implying that such imprecations upon the fine name of American arms sellers was an attack on the Constitution itself!

[H/t Jamie]

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

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