This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Drugs & Guns: Numbers in Mexico

In the past week, we have noted a surge in weapon seizures around Mexico. These numbers do not necessarily represent an increase in the movement of guns from the United States to Mexico, nor do they underline the efficiency of Mexican policing efforts. It is simply a snap shot of a particularly interesting week in a conflict with a sordid past and a long future.

On 8 February, Mexican officials captured the largest haul of weapons that according to the Mexican Attorney General’s office is the largest single weapon seizure made in the past 20 years. The ranch was located in the municipality of Miguel Alemán, where local politician Antonio Guajardo Anzaldúa was shot to death by alleged members of Los Zetas on 29 November 2007 for speaking out against the Gulf Cartel and its ties to PRI political party bosses in Tamaulipas.

Authorities were led to a ranch on the US-Mexico border where they found:

  • 89 long barrel rifles, mostly AK-47 and AR-15;
  • five pistols;
  • a .30 caliber sub-machine gun with tripod;
  • B-4 plastic explosives;
  • 83,365 rounds of ammunition;
  • nine tons of marijuana;
  • and, a large number of black and camouflage uniforms.

Given the ranch location, we can be certain this equipment belonged to Los Zetas.

Recently released numbers from the Mexican government illustrate the massive amounts of drugs moving through the country. Consider that the numbers below for 2007 and 2008 represent only a fraction of the actual amounts (thank you to the NAFBPO for some of this information).

2007 totals:


  • 50,737 kilos of cocaine
  • 312 kilos of opium paste
  • 298 kilos of heroin
  • 37.5 tons of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (precursor chemical used to make methamphetamines)


  • 4,451 handguns
  • 4,447 “shoulder” firearms – including assault rifles such as AK-47s and AR-15s
  • 663,913 rounds of ammunition
  • 484 grenades

2008 totals as of February 6, 2008.


  • 777 kilos of cocaine
  • 11.8 tons of marijuana


  • 183 handguns
  • 204 “high-powered” rifles
  • 16 rocket launchers
  • 110 fragmentation grenades
  • 80 stun grenades

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