Mexico, US agree to step up efforts to curb arms trafficking

Mexico, US agree to step up efforts to curb arms trafficking

Move follows visit to Mexico City this week by White House national security adviser

By Jorge Antonio Rocha

MEXICO CITY (AA) - Mexican security authorities announced Wednesday that the US and Mexico will implement new tracking measures to help stem the flow of firearms to cartels.

The move follows a visit to Mexico City this week by White House National Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

During President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s morning press conference, Mexico's Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodriguez said the US and Mexico have agreed to electronically track firearms seized in Mexican territory from criminal organizations, without providing further information.

Rodriguez noted that most guns used by criminals in Mexico come from the US. She said, however, that joint efforts with the United States have led to an increase in the detection and seizure of illegal weapons.

"It became clear that 70% of the weapons seized in Mexico come from the United States and the rest from other countries. However, thanks to bilateral actions within the framework of the bicentennial understanding, there has been a notable increase in their seizure," she said.

In addition, Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said that Mexico would push for the US to increase surveillance efforts on their border, saying that 200,000 weapons enter Mexico from its northern border every year.

"Secondly, it is necessary to increase the supervision of those who grant gun licenses and gun fairs, which are approximately 133,000 arms stores in the United States. So we want (US authorities to) at least check if they have a license, if they are operating legally, and revoke the licenses of the stores that are selling arms to the cartels. This seems essential to us," Barcena added.

The Mexican government has attributed the ongoing violence in Mexico to gun smuggling from the US, maintaining that a vast majority of the weapons used by drug cartels in the country for violent crimes come from the north.

Mexico is in an ongoing legal battle against nine major US gun manufacturers in an attempt to hamper the introduction of high-caliber weapons into Mexico.

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