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You have to take your little victories where you get get ’em. We’re not sure this actually constitutes a win, but it’s a new week, spring has sprung and we’re feeling more half full than half empty. A recent dispatch from Reuters (we’re not really sure if this is a news report or and op ed piece) highlights what TTAG and other Fast and Furious watchers have been saying for a long time now. Whatever the ostensible motivations for F&F were, making a significant dent in the number of guns running south wasn’t one of them. Why? Because retail-sourced guns via straw purchasers is a tiny fraction of the southbound firepower. The vast majority of the guns that arm the cartels are purchased legally by the Mexican military . . .

Though the ATF’s actions are a bit questionable, there’s actually a completely legal — and perhaps more harmful — way the U.S. is arming Mexican cartels. It’s called “direct commercial sales” and it’s operated by the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).

So how is taxpayer money paying to arm drug dealers?

Under the direct commercial sales program, foreign governments can submit an application to the DDTC. When approved, they are free to purchase weapons made by private U.S. manufacturers.

In 2009 alone, U.S. manufacturers sold 18,709 guns to the Mexican military, reports CBS News. About 26% of those guns were “diverted” into the wrong hands.

This is because an estimated 150,000 Mexican soldiers have defected and now work for cartels. They take their military-issued guns with them.

That’s only about 4900 guns, which is no doubt a vast undercounting of the number of weapons diverted – either by defecting troops or magically shrinking military inventories. And let’s not forget the Mexican police, either, who no doubt have their own defectors and lightfingered, cartel-funded amorers. Remember this oldie but goodie from ATF Death Watch #117?

And the fact that Mexican drug cartels are armed to the teeth with fully automatic American military rifles (complete with grenade launchers and grenades) that “seeped” to the drug thugs from official U.S. sales to the Mexican military, Mexican law enforcement and the rest of Latin America’s armed service and police forces. Hundreds of thousands of weapons. Over decades.

Still, it’s refreshing to see even this acknowledgment that the drug lords are being armed by a lot more than Jose slipping across the border with a trunk full of AKs and FiveseveNs.

So it’s getting harder to make the case that Bob’s Guns in Nogales was appreciably adding to the Sinaloas’ stock of full-auto M-4s and grenade launchers. Not that the Justice Department and their willing accomplices won’t try. But the fact that even a small mainstream media piece like this was written is a step – incremental though it may be – in the right direction.

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  1. 150,000 defectors?! Good Lord! What percentage of the Mexican armed forces does that represent? And, adding that to the number already part of the cartels (if anyone knows), how big of an army is the Mexican military facing?

    I guess plans for an invasion of Iran have to be put on hold as the US is going to have to eventually intervene in this conflict on its southern border sooner rather than later.

    • 150,000 defectors have been over the course of 5 years (I think). The MX military stands at 260,000 troops with an additional 300,000 active reserves. The Los Zetas Drug Trade Organization was a Special Forces unit of the MX Army. MX Population is 112M

      In comparison, the US population is 311M with an active military of 1.5M and 900,000 reserves.

  2. In January 2011, Germany banned the sale of H&K guns to Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Jalisco. The police in those states are viewed as human rights violators by the German government.

    As for Los Zetas and the Sinaloas, they don’t need no stinkin’ badges. They have the Army leaking guns to them, and I expect that some well-bribed Mexican federal and state police and politicians are also in it up to their eyeballs.

    • This is a classic case of being ‘on the horns of a dilemma.’ Forbid the DDTC at the Dept of State from approving sales of automatic weapons to the Mexican government, and lose a customer to Eastern Europe. Permit the sales? Take responsibility for arming the Cartels. Ah, ‘never let a crisis go to waste..” as Rahm was wont to say: Use the chaos to demonize the small-scale sales of semi-auto and .50 cal weapons to some smugglers, and turn it into a new prong in the fork of the anti-gun crusaders. When morality and money don’t agree, morality’s sent to the poor house. Even the LA Times gets it now.

  3. This is exactly why “Gun Control” is a total farce and it would not really surprise me if a lot of black market guns make it into countries in which the general populace does not have gun rights. The world wide arms trade is too lucrative and the politicians and governments are too corrupt.
    A lot of countries export guns, because people are not exactly lining up to buy their cars.
    I also note that most of the weapons shown in the above photo are not exactly for sale online at Bud’s Gun Shop.

  4. For an unfiltered look at what is happening in Mexico, take a look at If you can read some Spanish, is also very informative. Please be warned, they are beyond GRAPHIC at times. Again, if you’re the least squeamish, please stay away. You may just have to cry after reading them, because the carnage is incomprehensible, both the amount and the savagery. It might also make you think twice about the harmlessness of recreational drug use.

    At the very least, our government should not be tossing kerosene on this fire.

  5. has a video of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder revealing his scheme to brainwash Americans into rejecting our 2nd Amendment rights.

    Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.

    “What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

    Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation’s capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials “that make me buy things that I don’t really need.” He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.

    • … has a video of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder revealing his scheme to brainwash Americans into rejecting our 2nd Amendment rights…

      Oh, my.

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