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Indicators: Sept. 29

Dealers w/o borders

September 29, 2010, 1:00 am

76% is the share of guns recovered in Mexican crimes that US authorities traced to Arizona, California, New Mexico or Texas.

28,000 is the number of people killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006, according to numbers released in August by Mexican officials.

" Transnational organized crime does not recognize any borders.."—Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, in a Sept. 23 CNN interview

If you shot someone in Mexico last year, and the gun was recovered and traced, odds are you bought it in one of the four border states of the Southwestern US. (Among those, odds are you bought it from one of the two states that didn’t show up at last week’s Border Governors Conference: Arizona and Texas.)


Earlier this month, the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns—whose only New Mexico member is Santa Fe Mayor David Coss—released a report outlining the role of the Southwest in providing the guns used in Mexican crimes. 


While Texas sells the most “Mexican crime guns,” New Mexico has the particular honor of ranking second in the nation for the number of Mexican crime guns sold per capita. (In the report, “Mexican crime guns” are those recovered in crimes and then submitted to US authorities for tracing—only a fraction of Mexico’s total guns.)


For now, the problem of drug-related crime is confined largely to Mexico. Though approximately 28,000 Mexicans have died since Mexican President Felipe Calderón began a US-backed antidrug initiative in 2006, drug-related violence on the other side of the border, according to a 2010 report by the US Department of Justice, “is rare.”


But guns and drugs are a two-way street. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 2009 report on New Mexico’s central corridor, which includes Santa Fe County and is considered a “high-intensity drug trafficking area,” Mexican cartels control the distribution of virtually all wholesale illicit drugs entering the state: cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines.


As other states crack down, the report notes, New Mexico is becoming an ever more important destination for Mexican drug smugglers—which, in turn, makes a spillover in drug-related violence “quite likely.”

 

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