Mexico files second lawsuit against US arms traffickers
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government filed another lawsuit Monday against U.S. companies it says are responsible for the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico.
The first lawsuit, which was recently dismissed, was against American arms manufacturers. The second, which Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said was filed in Arizona on Monday, appears to target gun dealers.
« We’re prosecuting them because there’s clearly a pattern, we argue that it’s obvious there’s arms trafficking and it’s known that those guns are going into our country, » Ebrard said.
Ebrard promised last week that the new lawsuit would target gun shops or dealers in US border states who sell guns to « straw » buyers who pass them on to smugglers, who then take the guns to Mexico.
Ebrard said about 60% of guns seized in Mexico in recent years were believed to have been sold in 10 US counties, mostly along the border. Mexico has very strict restrictions on the possession of weapons, but the violence of the drug cartels has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the country in recent years.
« We’re going to show that many of these outlets where they’re selling these products in the counties that I mentioned are dealing with straw buyers, and criminal charges need to be laid, » Ebrard said last week during an interview. an appearance before the Mexican Senate.
A recently enacted US law defines the purchase of straw as a felony and provides for penalties of up to 15 to 25 years if the offense is related to drug trafficking.
The announcement comes days after a US federal judge dismissed Mexico’s first lawsuit against US arms manufacturers. Ebrard said Mexico would appeal the decision.
The judge ruled that Mexico’s claims did not overcome the broad protection afforded to arms manufacturers by the Legal Arms Trade Protection Act passed in 2005.
The law protects gun manufacturers from damage « resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse » of a firearm.
Mexico was seeking at least $10 billion in compensation, but legal experts had viewed the lawsuit as a long shot.
The Mexican government estimates that 70% of arms trafficked into Mexico come from the United States, according to the Foreign Ministry. He said that in 2019 alone, at least 17,000 homicides in Mexico were linked to arms trafficking.
The Associated Press