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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Mexico complained on Saturday that U.S. authorities allow Mexican drug gangs to buy arms in the United States "as if they were candy"

US News Article | Reuters.com

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico complained on Saturday that U.S. authorities allow Mexican drug gangs to buy arms in the United States "as if they were candy" due to lax controls of gun sales in border states.
The Mexican attorney general's office said Mexican gangs make drug runs into the United States in light aircraft and return loaded up with weapons.

"Unfortunately, the United States does not have adequate control of guns shops in the border area and they sell arms as if they were candy," senior prosecutor Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos told a news conference.

He said the attorney general's office is working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives against arms trafficking.

Mexico is particularly concerned about arms like the Barrett .50 caliber rifle. he said. The semi-automatic weapon, dubbed "The Widowmaker," can penetrate armored vehicles and aircraft.

"The big problem is that this type of weapon does not have adequate control in the United States. The trafficking of arms from the United States to Mexico unfortunately costs a lot of lives," said Vasconcelos, head of the organized crime unit.

A Barrett .50 caliber was among a number of assault weapons seized in a raid that captured the alleged main hit man of the infamous Arellano Felix drug gang in the border city of Tijuana on Thursday.

The suspect, Mario Alberto Rivera, was wanted for the murder of a journalist in the city who campaigned against the drug cartels, which smuggle marijuana, cocaine and other narcotics across the border into the United States.

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