As for their operations in the United States, the article said, “The cartels have built a network of dealers in 231 U.S. cities from coast to coast, taking in about $39 billion in sales annually.”
As an example of the breadth of cartel operations, Bloomberg Markets described a Ciudad del Carmen seizure of a single DC-9 cargo liner carrying a shipment of 178 suitcases filled with 5.7 tons of pure cocaine. The profits from that shipment alone could arm a sizable paramilitary force. One cartel is reported to run a 22-airliner flotilla moving tons of drugs worldwide.
This raises another key question: In terms of illegal world commerce, who else uses surplus aircraft to move highly profitable illegal cargo across the face of the globe?
Of Drugs And Guns
If you guessed international arms smugglers, you’d be on the money.
Ironically, the very same media outlets that keep pushing the gun store-to-cartel idea have published stories about the supermen of the criminal arms trade—the arms smuggling ultra-bosses who are as big as the drug bosses. Mr. Drug Kingpin, meet Mr. Gun Kingpin.
While the BATFE leadership has been hell-bent on proving that guns can be illegally bought at U.S. retailers and smuggled to Mexico by actually allowing it to happen and “monitoring” a whole series of felonies all the way to the border crossing, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been prosecuting real gun running. In fact, that agency bagged the gun smuggler’s gun smuggler, a former Soviet officer known as the “Merchant of Death.”
The retired Soviet Air Force officer turned premier international gun trafficker is named Viktor Bout. Bout is widely credited with having moved literally millions of small arms, fueling genocidal conflicts on the African continent and supplying huge numbers of full-automatic AKs from former Soviet and satellite state arsenals to anyone with the cash.
The DEA arrest of Bout was the subject of a Nov. 21, 2010, “60 Minutes” broadcast in which Michael Braun, former operations chief for DEA, said the Tajikistan-born world-class arms smuggler “has a unique selling point … ‘a fleet of cargo airplanes capable of transporting weapon and military equipment, anywhere. With more than 60 planes in all, it was his own private air force.’”
Braun told CBS, “These Russian aircraft were like flying big dump trucks. He could move this stuff with pinpoint accuracy to any desert, to any jungle, to any remote place in the world.”
Braun emphasized that Bout represents a special threat to the United States because he is “arming very powerful drug trafficking cartels around the globe.”
In fact, in the DEA sting, which closed with his arrest in Bangkok in 2007, Bout had agreed to sell and deliver 5,000 full-automatic AKs, fragmentation grenades and 100 anti-aircraft rockets, in addition to heavier weapons, to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist terror organization that has morphed itself into the largest producer of cocaine in the world, and which has close ties to the Mexican cartels. All of this for a paltry price tag of $15 million. Does anybody suppose the multibillion-dollar Mexican cartels can spare that kind of chump change for arms?
The Gun Shop Connection?
Yet the administration and the media would have you believe the cartels buy their guns from u.s. gun shops, one background check transaction at a time.
Compare the retail price for a semi-automatic version of the AK-47 in the u.s. to the price on the black market—about $55 per rifle. A Bout competitor commenting on AKs told PBS “Frontline,” “It’s a cheap weapon. Go to Lebanon and you can buy it everywhere. Go to Yemen, the world’s biggest stock is in Yemen … maybe 10 to 12 million.”
And still the theory is our Second Amendment supplies guns to Mexico?
Mexico is a country with large swaths of territory under absolute control of the cartels. Geographically, it is perfect for a smuggling operation of any kind, with 577 miles on its southern border with Guatemala guarded by no more than 125 Mexican officers. It has many thousands of square miles of isolated countryside. And it has 5,797 miles of unguarded Pacific and gulf coastline.
What is so bizarre about this is the confluence of news articles between coverage of Bout and the 90 percent myth. The same Washington Post that has parroted the gun store-to-cartel lie has given remarkable, though scant, coverage to the Bout arrest and extradition, referring to him as the “FedEx of arms dealers.” The Post repeated the DEA concerns that “FARC would use the weapons to protect its cocaine business.”
Look at it this way: The Washington Post and The New York Times don’t buy their newsprint from local stationery stores, so why do they keep telling the American people that multi-billionaire Mexican drug cartel bosses obtain firearms from retail gun dealers? It’s like suggesting that Citibank uses payday-check-cashing windows at corner liquor stores as its primary source of cash.
Nobody has shone the light of truth on this more succinctly than NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre did in his February 2011 “Standing Guard” column:
“Imagine the head of the Sonora cartel—riding in his multi-million dollar bomb-proof armored humvee—fresh from inspecting a dc-10 loaded with eight tons of cocaine. He turns to his drug smuggling logistics expert and says, ‘I want you to go to Bob’s Bait and Sporting Goods in Pima, Ariz., and obtain for me a TEC-9. I understand Bob is lax with his federal paperwork.’”
The End Game
The government’s whole thesis is not only phony, but it’s that goofy.
Why can’t most of the media connect even the obvious dots between big illegal drugs and big illegal guns?
Most likely, it’s because they don’t want to, since to pursue the obvious would obscure their manufactured crisis, and their manufactured solution—additional domestic gun control. It is a big government/big media fantasy. And it goes this way:
If you can convince the American people that gun store sales are fueling the murderous cartels in Mexico, and that the “favorite weapon” of your run-of-the-mill Mexican mass murderer is available to law-abiding Americans at those retailers, then you can claim that peaceable Americans should not be able to buy those kinds of firearms. The logic? We sacrifice our freedom to force Mexican criminals to stop murdering people in their country and selling drugs in ours.
In the long, sordid history of gun control, there is an eternal verity: For every manufactured action, there is always a manufactured solution.
Remember “Saturday Night Specials”—those little, dangerous, self-destructing, poor-quality, foreign-made, easily obtainable, easily hidden guns that criminals preferred in the 1970s? They were purely a creation of the batfe. The same goes for “assault weapons.” Or the “gun show loophole.”
In the end, if you want logic, consider an inescapable truth.
What all of this is about is what gun control is always about—money and power to those in government who would disarm individual Americans.
As NRA’s LaPierre has long said, “It’s all about making the innocent pay the price for the guilty.”
America's 1st Freedom
NRA's pure news magazine especially for our membership. Its mission is to deliver professional, compelling, accurate, timely and hard-hitting journalism that tells the truth about the threats to our Second Amendment rights.