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Tag: Guns

Lax U.S. Gun Laws Let Gun Smugglers Sell To Mexican Drug Traffickers

gunSure the violent drug trade in Mexico is out of control and sure we care. But we have to face up to the fact that our citizens are providing guns down there and helping distribute the product up here. More things need to be done up north to help our neighbor to the south.

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
New York Times
HOUSTON – John Phillip Hernandez, a 24-year-old unemployed machinist who lived with his parents, walked into a giant sporting goods store here in July 2006, and plunked $2,600 in cash on a glass display counter. A few minutes later, Mr. Hernandez walked out with three military-style rifles.

One of those rifles was recovered seven months later in Acapulco, Mexico, where it had been used by drug cartel gunmen to attack the offices of the Guerrero State attorney general, court documents say. Four police officers and three secretaries were killed.

Although Mr. Hernandez was arrested last year as part of a gun-smuggling ring, most of the 22 others in the ring are still at large. Before their operation was discovered, the smugglers had transported what court documents described as at least 339 high-powered weapons to Mexico over a year and a half, federal agents said.

“There is no telling how long that group was operating before we caught on to them,” said J. Dewey Webb, the agent in charge of the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Noting there are about 1,500 licensed gun dealers in the Houston area, Mr. Webb added, “You can come to Houston and go to a different gun store every day for several months and never alert any one.”

 For Full Story

U.S. Big Source of Guns For Mexican Drug Cartels

For a long time the U.S. has been highly critical that Mexico hadn’t done enough to curb drug trafficking. But Mexico has a reason to gripe: A lot of guns used by drug cartels come from the U.S.

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
New York Times
PHOENIX – The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.

Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Chicago Mayor Daley Blasts Feds For Overlooking Blatant Drug and Gun Trafficking

Mayor Richard Daley/official photo

Mayor Richard Daley/official photo

Never one to be shy, the mayor blasted the feds out of frustration for what he sees in his city. The big question is whether he has a legit gripe or just needs to blow off some steam.

By Dan Mihalopoulos
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — In a trademark rambling soliloquy, Mayor Richard Daley on Tuesday accused federal authorities of often overlooking blatant drug dealing and gun trafficking.

At the same time, Daley said, federal law enforcement is overzealous in chasing down star athletes such as Barry Bonds and Michael Vick and local officials who take small bribes.

“How can [drug kingpins] accumulate money every week, every month, have three of four homes, drive the best cars, have the best nail shops, and a lot of other things, the best girls, all the jewelry and nobody says anything?” said Daley, his voice at times rising to a high-pitched squeal.

“But if someone takes $100, it could be a Chicago policeman or anybody else, the feds are right there knocking on your door,” he added.
For Full Story

More than 800 Guns Seized at U.S. Airport Checkpoints Last Year

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Who in their right mind brings a gun to the airport these days?

Well, in this post-Sept. 11 era, despite heightened airport security, the number of firearms seized at U.S. airport checkpoints jumped to 833 in 2008, up nearly 10 percent from a year ago, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The 2008 figure was down from 915 in 2006, but nonetheless perplexing, said  TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis. The figures were compiled at the request of ticklethewire.com.

“We’ve spent the last seven years trying to educate passengers on what items are prohibited and allowed at the checkpoints,” Davis said.  “Certainly guns loaded or unloaded seems rather obvious to us. That is perplexing.”

Davis said a frequent excuse from gun owners, particularly some hunters, is that they forgot the weapon was in their bag.

“One would think a responsible gun owner would know where a firearm is at,” she said.

In another key category, the TSA reported that the number of suspicious behavior arrests at the airports more than doubled from 384 in 2007 to 851 last year.

Davis attributed the spike to TSA’s expanded Behavior Detection Program, where TSA security looks for psychological signs that someone is “basically hiding something or fears discovery.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Kansas Senate Votes to Let State and Fed Prosecutors Carry Guns in Court

Well,  maybe defendants will be a little better behaved if prosecutors pack heat. Who knows?

By CARL MANNING
The Associated Press
TOPEKA — Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman thinks allowing prosecutors to carry concealed guns in county courthouses could give them an added measure of protection if they ever needed it.
And on Thursday, the Senate voted 39-0 for a bill that would let county, state and federal prosecutors – including Attorney General Steve Six and his assistants – carry concealed guns into county courthouses.
“The courthouse is our workplace where we come in contact with people who pose us the greatest threat,” said Gorman, who been prosecuting criminals in Kansas City, Kan., for 28 years.
For Full Story

Other Stories of Interest

Georgia Man Gets 2 Years for Bomb Threat at Wal-Mart (AP)

Pilot Program in Indiana is Collecting DNA Evidence From Firearms

In Indiana a pilot program could help pave the way for cracking more gun-related crimes.

IndyChannel.com
INDIANAPOLIS — A new program that collects DNA evidence from firearms is already on its way to putting more criminals behind bars, police said.
The Marion County Crime Lab has several gun cases investigated under the new DNA pilot program heading to court right now, Indianapolis police spokesman Lt. Jeffrey Duhamell told 6News’ Jack Rinehart.
The program, which just entered its fifth month, makes Indianapolis the only place in the country where street officers routinely collect DNA evidence from firearms, linking the guns to the suspects 80 percent of the time.
For Full Story

Aberrant Behavior at Airports Takes No Holiday: 21 Guns Seized in One Week

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — As we approach Christmas, it’s clear aberrant behavior at our friendly airports isn’t taking a holiday.
The latest figures from the Transportation and Safety Administration show that 21 firearms were found at checkpoints between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 and 17 passengers were arrested due to suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents.
What’s more, two “artfully concealed prohibited items” were found at checkpoints and there were 15 incidents involving a checkpoint closure, a terminal evacuation or sterile area breach.