- A significant number of guns are smuggled from the US to Mexico.
- Some smuggling operations smuggle one gun at a time.
- Over 35,000 Mexicans died last year due to gun violence.
A new report by Milenio has disclosed how two Mexican brothers, Carlos and Ismael Almada Castrillo, ran an arms-accessory smuggling operation that supplied a Mexican drug cartel with high-tech equipment from the US. According to the report, they purchased the items on eBay and paid using PayPal.
The accessories were then shipped to Mexico and sold to members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) Mexican crime gang. Courier companies were apparently used to transport the items both within the US and Mexico.
Two companies, M&M Cargo and Calix Packing, have been named in the report. Both are owned by Julio César Mejía Calix, who admitted to authorities about transporting gun parts.
Some of the accessories smuggled by the brothers included hidden cameras, muzzle brakes, microphone detectors, anti-tracking phone cases, and firearm rail systems.
The CJNG drug trafficking syndicate, which received the bulk of the products, is an ultra-violent organization which is headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as El Mencho. It has been on an aggressive expansionist campaign over the past three years, making it a leading narco-trafficking organization in Mexico.
According to the latest statistics, the criminal outfit is among the top instigators of drug-related violence in Mexico.
The Brothers Incarcerated
The two brothers, Carlos and Ismael Castrillo, were taken into custody last year after investigations.
Carlos Almada was, at the time, being investigated by the Mexican authorities for trafficking drugs into the nation from Colombia. He was subsequently incarcerated in Mexico for the offence.
He is alleged to have sent a portion of the drugs to the United States and was charged with drugs and weapons possession in September 2019. He reportedly died while at the Jalisco Puente Grande prison earlier this year with the suspected cause of death being suicide.
His brother, Ismael Almada, was also apprehended by US authorities in 2019. He, however, managed to get out on bail. There are still several cases being leveled against him.
Weapons Trafficking to Mexico is a Big Problem
According to a recent report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there has been an upsurge of weapons trafficking operations from the US to Mexico in the past couple of years.
Some smuggling syndicates apparently specialize in smuggling them in small quantities, sometimes one gun at a time, while others prefer trafficking large consignments.
According to the report, smaller batches are currently preferred. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has, in the recent past, indicated that over 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico that could be tracked by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) originated from the United States.
The weapons are a definite contributor to the rising levels of violence in the country. In 2019, over 35,000 homicides were reported in Mexico. According to GAO, a sizable number of guns found in the country are trafficked as parts then reassembled once they reach their destination.