Jan 23, 2024 - World

Mexico urges investigation after cartels found with U.S. Army weapons

Mexican Foreign Secretary Alicia Bárcena in Washington, D.C., in September.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Alicia Bárcena in Washington, D.C., in September. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mexico's government is demanding American officials urgently investigate why drug cartels in the country have U.S. military-grade weapons.

Why it matters: It's estimated that up to half a million weapons are smuggled every year from the U.S. to Mexico, which has seen spiking gun violence despite strict regulations.

  • Now, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Alicia Bárcena says that the country's Defense Department "has warned the United States about weapons entering Mexico that are for the exclusive use of the U.S. Army," per AP — which notes cartel members have shared images of the weapons on social media.
  • Among the weaponry Mexico's army has uncovered are grenades and rocket launchers, according to AP.

What they're saying: Ken Salazar, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, told reporters Monday that "70% of the weapons that cause violence here in Mexico come from the United States" and reducing arms trafficking was a priority for President Biden, AFP reports.

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