Forums / Political & Legal / US gun dealer on trial for selling weapons to Mexico

5 years 43 weeks ago, 4:22 PM

samD

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US gun dealer on trial for selling weapons to Joel Millman | March 03, 2009
Article from: The Australian

AN Arizona gun shop goes on trial in the state's courts this week in what police officials are calling a landmark case against gun dealers who sell weapons that end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, fuelling horrific violence south of the border that killed more than 6000 people last year.

X-Caliber Guns is accused of knowingly selling hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47s, to buyers who were posing as fronts for Mexican drug gangs. The gun store's owner, George Iknadosian, 47, has maintained his innocence in court filings.

While the US has long pressed Mexico to stop the flow of illegal drugs such as cocaine from crossing the border, Mexico has complained the US does not stop the flow of guns heading south. Mexican and US officials estimate that more than 90 per cent of the weapons used by Mexican drug cartels come from the US.

Consider what happened last year in the Mexican border city of Nogales: the chief of the Sonora state anti-drug unit, Juan Manuel Pavon, was murdered by cartel hit men, just hours after attending a US seminar on how to resist the tide of American firearms surging into Mexico. Several weapons linked to the crime were traced back to X-Caliber Guns.

"The three highest priorities for me in terms of US co-operation in the drugs war are these: guns, guns, guns," Mexican Attorney-General Eduardo Medina-Mora said. "These drug groups intimidate society and government because of their firepower. And their firepower comes from the US."

No one knows how many weapons cross the border into Mexico each year. Unlike contraband drugs, which are consumed, contraband guns "remain in circulation until they are captured", says Terry Goddard, the Arizona Attorney-General bringing the case against X-Caliber Guns.

The number of US guns in Mexico is growing. The Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, says more than 7700 guns sold in the US were traced to Mexico in the fiscal year to September. That's twice the 3300 recorded the previous year and more than triple the 2100 traced the year before that.

US officials acknowledge US gun laws are partly to blame. The 1994 ban on the sale of assault weapons such as AK-47s in the US led to a decrease of such weapons south of the border. But the ban expired in 2004, and the numbers in Mexico spiked.

Last week, US Attorney-General Eric Holder said the Obama administration would seek to reinstate the ban. Contributing to the problem is the fact that Mexico's customs control is weak, and inbound traffic from the US is rarely checked.

Meanwhile, Mexican drug gangs are stocking up on deadlier weapons. ATF officials say they have registered more purchases of high-powered FN Herstal rifles and pistols -- the Belgian-made weapon called "matapolicias" in Mexico, or "cop-killers", for their ability to fire through body armour. Such items are sold in hundreds of Arizona gun shops, or by private owners online.

Although US gun laws generally forbid the sale of weapons to non-citizens, the X-Caliber case shows how Mexican purchasers used intermediaries, or "straw buyers", to flout the rules.

The scheme, according to the prosecution, was simple: The buyers, usually 19- to 22-year-old US citizens with no police record, declared that the firearm was for personal use, but instead passed it along to an associate of a Mexican cartel. The buyer filled out a standard form used by the ATF to track firearms. Lying on the form is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. ATF agents say buyers in the X-Caliber case were paid a fee to run that risk, up to $US100 ($158) on each transaction.

Gun shops rely on ATF recordkeeping to check them before selling to the wrong buyer. Ken Logan, a manager at the Shooters World gun store in Phoenix says the ATF form, once approved after being checked against a national database, relieves the store of responsibility.

"The ATF says 'yea' or 'nay', on who I can sell a gun to," he says.

Gun stores run the risk of lawsuits if they're deemed to be "profiling" -- refusing to sell guns to young Latinos, for instance. Mr Logan concedes he has seen men enter gun stores, point out to a girlfriend what weapon they should buy, and leave. The girlfriend fills out the form, saying the gun is for her personal use.

Getting bullets is even easier. Gun dealers must report anyone purchasing more than one handgun during a single five-day period, but there is no restriction on ammunition. Last Christmas Eve, salesmen at Cabela's Sporting Goods store in Phoenix were surprised when two Hispanic men bought 24,000 rounds of 5.7 calibre bullets, the same calibre used in FN "cop killers". They paid $US10,000 in cash. When the buyers were seen loading their purchase into a car with Mexican licence plates, store managers summoned police. Authorities found 12 FN rifles and three "cop killer" handguns.

Police arrested the buyers, but only because they were foreign nationals, and thus forbidden from possessing arms in the US.

5 years 43 weeks ago, 10:44 AM

Gunnin88

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this sucks

This just sucks. Bad for us. Truth is and it will not be revealed most of the guns in Mexico come from South America at 1/4 the price of the guns on this side of the border. Unfortunatly this will never make the news and the Democrats will run with this for more anti gun legislation.

Sounds to me like a simple law could fix this problem. Limit the types of guns one person can buy on a yearly basis. So one guy can't keep going in and buying 5 AK's every week. To me if I were a dealer a red flag would have flashed the secound time the guy came in for another load of AK's. I hate laws on guns but if were gunna make some why not make some that make sence?

01*20*2013 Obamas last day!
5 years 42 weeks ago, 3:39 PM

shadow walker

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guns

I still wonder how they they get across the border, no one does any checking at the border. I remember a few years back when a guy had some live rounds in the back of his car and it took months to get him out of jail, he had no weapon just ammo. If they are coming across the border maybe there border agents are getting a pay off. No one has said ahything about ships bringing guns from Asia to the mexico ports but that must be another story.

Shadowwalker
5 years 43 weeks ago, 10:46 AM

Gunnin88

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oh yeah

does anyone else wonder how the hell Cabelas had 24,000 rounds. I can't find 500 and these dudes walk in and get 24,000...WOW I wish I had a Cabelas closer to me..lol

01*20*2013 Obamas last day!
5 years 43 weeks ago, 10:50 AM

ssrs10

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yeah

I think at some point in the next four years there will be a "freak incident" (the perp coerced into commiting it by a dem) where someone or a group is held hostage/killed with "big scary guns" and it'll be all over the news and of course in the turmoil and insane emotional BS outcry of the news and "public" sheeple, and this is what they'll use as ammo against us and our right as free people.

It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses
5 years 43 weeks ago, 11:26 AM

Gunnin88

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yeah

Your right and I hate to say that. Justlike the twin towers, use a bad thing and fears of the people to push an agenda. I'm still not convinced we did not have something to do with 9 11.

01*20*2013 Obamas last day!
5 years 42 weeks ago, 7:28 PM

runawaygun762

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There is a good book

called Enemies Foreign and Domestic. I don't remember who wrote it, but it's about an attack on a packed football stadium by a guy with a rifle, causing a shitload of deaths, and of course, the government bans all assault rifles. It's not as good as Unintended Consequences, but very good nonetheless

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
5 years 42 weeks ago, 5:53 PM

eagleseeker1957

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weapon

we ALL know there tryin to ban assault weapons an we all know if they do the only folks with them will be cops an crooks. no matter what happens we will all get screwed 1 way or the other.as for the gun shop owner give me a damn break he knew full well who he was sellin them to greed.money makes us all do dumb things.

5 years 42 weeks ago, 10:44 PM

Pkato

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Join NRA

I hate to keep typing this here, but if you are not a member, you should join. Next...gunnin88, man I think you are so totally wrong about the government's involvement. What do you base this on? The only place I have seen anything writting that agrees with that is from very liberal shows/books/magazines/newspapers. I mean...just curious how you come up with that feeling? I do agree with you though, events are exaggerated and used to push agendas, no doubt. We are in for a lot of trouble over the next few years...let's just not let these guys go for 8 years!!!

PKato
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BLBG

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
5 years 42 weeks ago, 10:46 PM

Pkato

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Again though

Greed plays a part...these guys come in with 10k in cash and want the ammo and they give it to them...there is a problem there too. It's a difficult situation...not sure what the answer is, but banning ammo/weapons definitely is not it.

PKato
HIIC
T-Minus 6 days
BLBG

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
5 years 42 weeks ago, 12:12 AM

birdebyrd

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"Cop Killers"?

20 years ago, the term was used (primarily by the media) to describe bullets that went through protective vests... Some thought that teflon coated ammo enhanced its penetration and some places banned that sort of ammo, even though tests pretty much proved that by the time the projectile reached its target, there was no appreciable amount of teflon left on it. Now it's being used to describe a weapon? I guess if you wanna scare the public, you call something a "Cop Killer" and perhaps the sheeple will listen.

Feedin' the till, for the "Stimulus" Bill (since 1974)

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