Customs Officials Seize 5,000 Rounds of Ammunition Bound for Mexico
The Mexican government has largely blamed American gun companies for the more than 500,000 guns that are smuggled into Mexico annually.
There is a common perception that U.S. Customs agents are only concerned with what Americans returning from Mexico, or those visiting the United States, may have in their possession. That isn't a fully accurate picture, however.
Just last month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations intercepted 5,000 rounds of ammunition at the Hidalgo International Bridge. The bridge, which connects the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and Texas, is one of several international crossings over the Rio Grande River.
"The undeclared exportation of weapons and ammunition into Mexico is illegal. Our CBP officers prevented this ammunition from reaching Mexico thanks to their diligent inspection work," said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez.
On January 27, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Hidalgo International Bridge encountered a white Chevrolet sedan driving southbound to Mexico.
The vehicle, which was driven by a twenty-three-year-old U.S. citizen, was referred for further inspection by a CPB officer. During the physical inspection, officers discovered 5,000 rounds of 7.62x39 rifle ammunition and $4,555, which was also seized as proceeds of illicit activity.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations seized the ammunition and the vehicle and arrested the driver. The case remains under investigation by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).
The Flow of Illegal Drugs and Guns
The flow of ammunition and guns has been an ongoing problem for years. Just last summer, U.S. Customs agents arrested Miguel Diaz Calderon, a resident of Washington, who was found to have forty-three shotguns, rifles and pistols, and an excess of 10,000 rounds of ammunition as he attempted to drive into Mexico at the Eagle Pass. The illicit goods were found hidden in an ice chest, his gas tank, and a spare tire.
The Mexican government has largely blamed American gun companies for the more than 500,000 guns that are smuggled into Mexico annually. Last year, the Mexican government even filed lawsuits against multiple American firearms companies, claiming that those businesses were responsible for the carnage committed by the Mexican drug cartels. It is true that there has been a flow of firearms into Mexico as the cartels wage all but open warfare on the streets of Mexico.
However, there has also been a marked increase in the amount of drugs that have continued to flow northward from Mexico. Last November saw the seizure of 17,584 pounds of methamphetamine and almost 400 pounds of fentanyl from a commercial trailer attempting entry at the Otay Mesa, California, Commercial Port of Entry. CPB confirmed that both drug seizures were the largest in each drug category in recent years.
Mexican drug cartels have recently begun building bigger and more productive labs to increase the production of synthetic drugs like meth and fentanyl. The Mexican cartels have shifted away from naturally grown drugs such as opium and marijuana. And at the same time, cartel violence has increased as the various factions try to carve out their niche in the market.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.