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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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March 04, 2011

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Silvia:

I posted this for an earlier topic, but think it's highly appropriate again.

It seems to me that allowing the sale and tracking of contraband tobacco and alcohol may be a good law enforcement technique, but allowing and facilitating the sale of contraband firearms and explosives (or atomic weapons....) is a bad idea - with deadly consequences.

OK - management of the ATF is not stupid, right? [Not everybody here may agree on that premise :-) ]. So what were they trying to achieve? It looks like they were trying to assemble evidence for a major sting operation. In order to do that - they need convincing proof that large numbers of these weapons are reaching the cartels in Mexico. Otherwise, what have they got when they take these "straw buyers" of guns to court? Nothing conclusive.

My point is this. Numerous readers on this blog have objected vehemently to the idea of the US Gov't (ATF) creating a detailed computerized system that tracks the ownership of all guns in the USA. OK, so we agree that we want freedom from that. Then what's the alternative? The ATF has to be able to run major sting operations and make them work. Isn't that what we're seeing here?

You can't have it two ways, folks.

P.

ATF already has a detailed computerized system that tracks ownership of guns in the USA. Not a complete registration system, but one that tracks all new guns to the first buyer. For details, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETrace

Not at all P. As attested to by it’s own agents the ‘’sting’’ as you refer to the operation, was less about compiling legitimate evidence, and more inline with that of rigging a crime scene or case. Clearly, and as again attested to by agents who were actually involved in the operation, ATF’s intent was to allow the introduction of a larger number of firearms into Mexico than what would have normally been the case, simply to inflate the statistics of such guns being crossed into Mexico. The only people ‘’stung ‘’ by this gun deal gone south are the murdered victims and their families, as a result of ATF’s allowed introduction of them.

Fred

Fred ... appreciate your comment. If what you are saying is indeed true - that is a serious allegation. I hope it gets investigated.

But how exactly does the ATF benefit ... if the news gets out that lots of guns are flowing into Mexico? Couldn't the public interpret that fact to mean that ATF is actually failing in its job? Is the logic here that ATF would get a boost in funding - to deal with the "growing problem" of guns going into Mexico. I sure hope that's not what is going on.

P.

P- I certainly don’t have all the answers concerning this thing, but if the ATF field agents are to be believed, that is exactly what ATF management had in mind. This whole discussing affair has been a big disappointment for me, and I doubt if we have even heard the worst of it yet. Back at the time when the first agent was killed, the Border Patrolman in AZ., much of the media were concerned because they couldn’t seem to get any information about the event. I mean no information from the FBI, Border Patrol, ICE, ATF nor the DOJ. Weeks went by and nobody was being charged nor arrested for the crime. Then these ATF field agents started talking, and it didn’t take much thinking to understand why the news blackout had been put in place. Cover-up, plain and simple. Here however is where some are missing what actually did or is taking place: For all of these federal agencies to come together under one umbrella to effect such a media blackout, the umbrella has to be much bigger than the ATF, or even the DOJ. In other words the ‘’managers’’ at ATF didn’t hatch this gun running scheme all on their own. Nope this gig was/is covered from very close to the top, if not the top.
Clearly with the CBS folks picking up on the story at the very least a couple of folks are going to get thrown under the bus. If the media stays focused we could see as many bus hits as we did during Nixon’s attempt to stay in office.

Fred

This is about a 2008 case the considered "first major confrontation" or the genesis of the Mexican drug war(US encouraged and apparently supported)
John Thomas Shipley-ex-FBI agent-51 firearms purchase sold to cartels, a Barrett involved in 1 Mexican Army officer killed= 2 years sentence
http://www.ticklethewire.com/tag/john-thomas-shipley/

There have been lots of these cases since ever and seems no one has been doing something or listening at least, because they happened in Mexico not in US land or against US agents or civilians.

Harley,
How about the Mexican government "contract" with los Estados Unidos and cooperate in an intelligence gathering effort to locate Guzman and send in a few covert Navy Seal and Marine Force Recon teams to take him out alomg with his top boys. If it works we cooperate again and do the same with the Zetas.
All under the radar mind you. Weaken the network and then rebuild the internal and border security of both our countries. Both countries have enough at stake to put aside the long held fears of "colonialism" long enough to get this under control.

As interested as the ATF (Alcohol? seriously?) might be about how an M-16 or an AK-47 gets from "Texas gunstore to Michoacan state", for example, this fact remains: this caliber of customer does not have economic or logistical constraints in their buying decision process. None. I don't doubt that the DTOs in Mexico have a proverbial bazaar of wonderful options available to them at discounted prices in states like Texas, etc. But I think what's being underestimated here is the fact that these DTOs have ridiculous amounts of cash. I mean they are rolling in it, and as such can buy guns in any amount and any flavor from just about any vendor anywhere in the world, including China, etc. These guys can buy helicopters with machine guns on them as well as tanks and SAMs.

Meanwhile in Texas the ATF thinks they're finally on to something called "trafficking of guns to Mexico". To that discover the only response is this: "No shit Sherlocks!"

Bill
I just keep reading the same premises of you:
1- Mexico supposed and prejudiced fear of "colonialism" and
2- The only solution for you is some US military intervention.

About the first I thought I have answered that before.

About your suggested military intervention as the only solution you have been proposing these days, you know there must some US agents infiltrated at some level right now, that is no big news for me.
With all of US "intelligence" machinery working on Mexico as the 1st national security threat right now, with so many various opinions like the under-secretary Westphal on one side and secretary Napolitano on the other side, I just realized your politics don't have a clue about was going on for real, neither here in my country nor in your own side of the border.
The obsession of a U.S. military intervention in Mexico is so stale.
Weaken the cartels is a must for both countries,sending your troops to catch the guy is not the magical solution, cartels are like the ancient greek Hydra.

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