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Re: MX1 on guns -- LONG

Released on 2012-08-09 05:00 GMT

Email-ID 1704012
Date 1970-01-01 01:00:00


From: "Fred Burton"
To: "Marko Papic"
Cc: "Fred Burton" , "scott stewart"

Sent: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 7:40:19 AM
Subject: Re: MX1 on guns -- LONG

Appreciate his detailed response. Very insightful.

ATF has always been a red haired step child hated by everyone to include
the NRA, FBI and Texas gun nuts. I interned at ATF while in college.
Their work can be very good but the FBI screws them every chance they can.

I would like his thoughts on why the MX govt are calling IEDs (bombs
carried in cars) VBIEDs ? I sense politics on that part of the MX govt
to solicit more Obama dollars.....

Marko Papic wrote:
> /Here is MX1 take. He will send numbers tomorrow if he can. I will try
> to get them to you, but note I only will have internet in afternoon. /
> I don't have access to any of the figures right now on numbers -- not
> at home -- but
> I can have them to you by tomorrow.
> Now, some comments and thoughts:
> - First off, and as a preamble as far as Mexico City is concerned,
> neither Mayor Bloomberg's undercover
> ops in Tucson nor the proposed Arizona Omnibus firearms bill will
> have a direct impact on gun trafficking toward Mexico.
> - As I have mentioned before, ATF agents that deal with southbound
> trafficking directly have stated that they believe it is not 90% of
> the weapons that come from the US. They think it's 95%. I don't know
> whether this is political or not, I think it may be. In that case it
> is ATF vs.
> states.
> - Based on our last assessment of global trafficking towards
> Mexico, the majority of weapons seized still enter through the
> US. However, 2010 saw an increase in seizures that could be traced
> back to Central America, South America, Caribbean and China. Many
> others were untraceable, in large part because they were never
> entered into E-trace or had scratched out serial numbers and deemed
> unfit to trace.
> - There is a major disconnect between Mexican and US authorities on
> the value of gun tracing. The way the average mid-management
> Mexican cop/police commander sees it, tracing is only good for the
> Americans. Rarely do we see the arrest or judicial value of
> tracing the guns. For the CISEN analysts, this information is very
> useful, but it is only shared with a few select Mexican individuals
> who guard the information closely. Therefore, the conclusion drawn
> by our assessment in the GC-Armas (Mexico's inter-ministerial
> working group on gun trafficking), is that little has been done to
> teach Mexican law enforcement the value of even using E-trace.
> - Like their narcotic brethren predecessors, we have seen gun
> trafficking rings adapt and use very, very advanced and creative
> techniques in smuggling southbound. As examples, Sinaloa cartel
> sought out armories that were closing (where any unsold goods
> automatically become part of private collections and are not
> subject to any checks) and offered to buy guns in bulk for a good
> sum. Also, we saw guns being smuggled in camouflage (as parts on
> bikes and in hoods of cars).
> - The most significant adaptation of the gun smuggling rings has
> been their uncanny ability to obtain guns from further north. They
> have been able to forge long-lasting and lucrative business
> partnerships with several gun stores that can account for an
> important percentage of seized guns. However, the alliances with
> private collectors and networks of people that launder money
> through gun show businesses are much greater in number, but nearly
> impossible for Mexican authorities to know about. An investigation
> into these networks requires inter-agency cooperation that has not
> been readily available for ATF. What we have been able to
> identify, however, are an increase in the number of movements and
> middle-men that recruit and handle straw purchasers.
> - Straw purchasing continues to be the mode of choice for cartels
> to obtain guns from the US. As for Central America, buying them
> from corrupt police, military and gangs is most popular. --> NOT
> FOR PUBLICATION: In the case of China, Sinaloa cartel again
> surprised us by having their own network within NORINCO. There is
> currently an international effort to shut this down. So yes, definitely
> non-American sources as well, but the U.S. is just so close and easy
> to tap. The narco traffickers already have great networks in the U.S.,
> branching out to get some guns while selling drugs is easy and not
> a stretch of imagination.
> - There is a worry by at least one SRE analyst that because of the
> higher number of non-US weapons seized, the American gun lobby will
> use those figures as an excuse to shut down Gunrunner and other
> programs, and say that Mexico lied about the problem all along.
> The concern here is that the point is not about statistics or even
> about where most guns come from. For this particular analyst, its
> about the fact that the US has the ability to do something about
> the flow of arms, while, for example, Belize, probably does not.
> Therefore, whatever can be done to stop even one gun from crossing,
> should be done. And that does have to start with our fucking law
> enforcement starting to use the E-trace.
> - An example of how sophisticated and widespread a network can be
> can be gleaned from recent operation "Fast & Furious", executed on
> January 25th. 20 people arrested and 34 total indictments. A big
> deal. The investigation started thanks to intel that we shared with
> ATF. The raw data from 195 seizures in Mexico and 372 in Arizona
> were shared with ATF. Over the course of many, many months, it
> became clear that the Lone Wolf gun store in Phoenix could be tied
> to an unusual number of crime gun traces in Mexico. Anyway, the
> cool stuff is not that many of these people were arrested. In
> fact, it will matter little, given that these crimes in the US are
> not only nearly impossible to prosecute, but extremely difficult to
> convict. I have not done any checking, but I am willing to bet
> most of the people arrested are already out or will be soon.
> - The really cool thing about F&F is the M.O. of the ring that ATF
> was chasing. The guy (still wanted in both countries) who is at
> the center of the ring is Manuel Solis Acosta. He went out and got
> 3 main straw purchasers. These 3 guys then went on to recruit (on
> average) 14 people each. They made contact with "El Compa" who
> runs a restaurant in El Paso immediately off I-10. At this
> restaurant, in the back, is a warehouse, where all of the guns were
> later sent to SINALOA. The traffickers KNEW that cars were being
> traced when they crossed southbound via Arizona because SEDENA and
> SRE knew that guns from AZ were mainly going to that state. Ergo,
> they ran their entire stash house in EP and then moved it by land
> and air to Sinaloa.
> - When things got hot in EP and some traces of suspicious vehicles
> started getting done there, they went back to AZ, but used the
> Tohono O'dham reservation. Less than a year ago, we intercepted a
> "Rodeo" van with 37 AKs, all traced back to Mr. Uriel Patino, a
> known straw-purchaser. Therefore, what we had was a complex
> organization with lots and lots of people involved, using various
> routes, purchasing weapons all over the place, and moving them
> anywhere they could. Needless to say, it is very difficult for law
> enforcement to track these people. As one ATF agent once told me:
> "Guns are hard because they are not like drugs. Drugs are always
> illegal. Whether a gun is illegal really depends. It can be legal
> one minute and illegal the next, and you can't do anything if it's
> legal."
> - Another important point to mention about Gunrunner and our joint
> efforts to combat trafficking is the high degree of symbolism that
> this had for Mexico. Even if Gunrunner has not lived up to
> expectations, we see a great deal of symbolism in seeing the US try
> to halt the flow of weapons into cartel hands. If there were no
> appearance of efforts made on the US side, I can assure you that
> any Mexican administration would have a hard time showing that we
> are fighting a war together and that there is "shared
> responsibility". Going after the guns, and the entire Merida
> Initiative, is more valuable to Mexico due to their symbolism than
> actual results. Results are also nice. But this is political in Mexico.
> Calderon needs to show that he got the Americans to do something
> because he asked them to. It is an ego thing, but also it is going to
> go a long way to explain to citizens that sacrifices at home are worth
> it when Americans are also sacrificing.
> A final point to make is that many many many officials on the
> Mexican side are very frustrated by what they are beginning to
> understand is a system that was never meant to hold any water. US
> gun laws are designed to be hard to prosecute and enforce. ATF
> funding is abysmal (could this be reason they say 95 percent).
> However, we have only recently begun true efforts to understand
> how gun laws and the system works in the US. Before, we just gave
> up and made a fuss. Threw a fit here or there. More and more, we are
> getting to understand the intricacies of the 2nd amendment and its
> incredible reach. If only we understood this in May of 2010,
> President Calderon would not have been so ill advised as to talk to
> Americans about their guns in his speech to Congress. That was
> stupid, but they did not let me write the speech (just kidding).
> Personal take:
> The figures and exact numbers are not important to me. However,
> there are some in the the gun rights lobby saying that no American
> guns cross the border to Mexico. That's crazy! If drugs can come
> north, guns can come south.
> We have drugs, you have guns! Cartels do not have to go to China
> for weapons? Why? They just ask cousin Jose in Chicago who knows a
> guy who knows a guy. So yes, I can see 95 percent figure being
> misleading. But I have no doubt that the U.S. guns are the
> majority. It's simple geography. They are right there. If cartels
> get their weapons from other places as well, its because they
> follow the same logic of expansion as they do with their drug
> distribution. You'd think that, at a time when the MX Gov is
> fighting you, you would not want to expand markets into Europe,
> LatAm and Asia. However, this is exactly what they have done.
> Accordingly, they will find other and new ways to obtain guns.
> Maybe in 10 years most guns will come from China. However, right
> now, most come from the US.
> At the working level, we have no desire to intervene or seen to be
> intervening in US domestic laws on the gun issue. We understand
> that touching guns would be like Americans telling us what to do with
> our Petroleum.
> As a final note, I would add and emphasize that this issue is not
> only about effectiveness and national security. It is also about
> domestic politics -- in Mexico. It is unfortunate and sad, but it is a
> big part of why the issue is so difficult to tackle.
> --
> Marko Papic
> STRATFOR Analyst
> C: + 1-512-905-3091

Marko Papic

C: + 1-512-905-3091