SMUGGLING

U.S. Guns Fuel Mexico Cartel Wars

Apparently smuggling across the Mexican border goes both ways. The drug war in Mexico, which has claimed 31,000 lives since a 2006 government crackdown, is largely fought with guns sold in the United States. Officials estimate that 80 percent of the weapons used by Mexican cartels come from the U.S. American buyers with clean records are paid up to $200 per gun, which are then smuggled into Mexico via what is known as the “Iron River.” Procuring a gun in the U.S. is much easier than in Mexico, where laws regulating gun purchases are significantly stricter. Texas, California, and Arizona are the primary sources of weapons used by cartels in Mexico, authorities say.