A helpful link from a friend, a little registration action and there you have it: the United States International Trade Commission’s “Harmonized Tariff Schedule” (HTS) record of America’s official (i.e. legal) firearm sales to Mexico. Data dump after the jump. But first note: “military weapons” includes sales of military style weapons (a.k.a., “assault rifles”). Another caution . . .
The Commerce Department compiles this data using information provided by the State Department re: foreign military arms sales. Given Uncle Sam’s covert gun-running ops in Mexico (including ATF Operation Fast and Furious), accepting these suspiciously low numbers as accurate of the reality on the ground requires an Evel Knievel-like leap of faith. [Click on image to enlarge]
Even after removing the tin foil hat, the numbers don’t add up.
In 2010, U.S. sales of military weapons to Mexico had more than doubled from the year previous (14,764 to 34,923). This year, 2011 year-to-date, the number has fallen to 2,792. Huh? Does that have anything to do with the fact that the Fast and Furious scandal hit the headlines this year?
While we’re at it, how did handgun sales (military and civilian combined) go from 7,950 in 2000 to 1313 in 2001 to zero in 2003? It’s another astronomical anomaly. In fact, it’s hard to credit this data at all. Besides, while helpful, these sales stats are not the droids I seek.
To ascertain the role of officially-sanctioned U.S. firearms sales in arming Mexican drug cartels, we need to know the origin of a statistically valid sample of all the guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes. Not a sample of guns submitted to the ATF’s eTrace system. (Our southern neighbors aren’t going to eTrace a gun stamped Property of the Mexican military.)
This information exists. Mexico is not providing it. BUT the story about military “seepage” to the drug cartels is about to see the light of day. We hear tell that a major media outlet is on the case. Some of the followers of Fast and Furious view that story as a dangerous distraction from the Bureau’s extra-legal activities. I consider it part and parcel of our failed War on Drugs and immigration policy which lead, one way or the other, to Fast and Furious.