Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Ambassador says Mexico rejected offers of help to control arms trafficking

The federal government rejected a United States offer of equipment to help control illegal arms trafficking, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico said Thursday.

Christopher Landau, who announced last week that he would leave his post when the United States government changes on January 20, told a virtual press conference that the U.S. offered to donate “non-intrusive equipment to control arms trafficking on the border” but the Mexican government didn’t accept.

He also said that during visits to Mexico, former United States Attorney General William Barr offered to extradite arms traffickers who are detained in the U.S. but also sought here. But the federal government didn’t take up that offer either.

“We never received an extradition request during my tenure, which I was very sorry about because I would have liked to have seen one,” Landau said.

The ambassador said that more needs to be done on both sides of the border to stop arms smuggling into Mexico.

(The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in 2019 that firearms from the United States are used in seven out of every 10 high-impact crimes committed in Mexico.)

“For me it’s as if we were sending arms to Hitler during the Second World War; the people who buy illegal weapons from the United States here in Mexico – organized crime – are a problem not just for Mexico but also for the United States,” Landau said.

The ambassador charged that “a lot of people in Mexico” opportunistically use the arms smuggling issue to criticize the United States, and accepted that “there is more that we can do.”

However, he added that “there is also more that Mexico can do” to control illegal arms trafficking.

Landau referred to the events in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in October 2019 – when one of the sons of notorious drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested only to be promptly released when cartel gunmen launched an aggressive offensive – to emphasize the firepower of criminal organizations in Mexico and the need to do something about their continued access to weapons.

Mexico and the United States have entered into agreements to work together to stop the flow of weapons across the border but Landau’s remarks indicate that the cooperation is not as close as it could be.

“It’s imperative that we make more shared efforts on both sides of the border,” he said.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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