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A round-up of unusual sources

21 December 2021

Breitbart, the far-far-far right-wing propaganda rag is not a source used by Mexfiles… until now. Like Hell, we’ll provide a link to that toxic waste site, but I have to admit Ildefonso Ortiz does a decent job with his “just the facts” coverage of US border region crime, though one suspect publication there is just rationale for comments mostly to do with the almost forgotten “Fast and Furious” scandal (in which the US Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives knowingly allowed a cache of firearms to be smuggled to Mexican gangsters — a normal operation meant to track smuggling routes — that became a cause celebre for the US right, when at least one of those arms was used to kill a US agent working in Mexico) or the same old boring “Build the wall!!!” riffs.

Anyway, with the same information being published 16 December in the McAllen Progress Times (another not usual source), the story… interesting in iitself… could indicate a changing attitude in the US towards taking a more proactive role in their own smuggling problem.

From the two (and the indictment in the federal district court for south Texas, dated 14 December 2021) we learn that Daniel Gallegos, a part owner of Danny’s Pawn Shop and the Point Blank Shooting Range is accused of selling “thousands of rounds of ammunition to ‘an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States’,” between March and May of last year: five different purchases to, what one assumes, was the same individual.

The comments on the story, both in Breitbart and the McAllen paper, generally are supportive of Gallegos, and question how, or why, he would have been expected to know the purchaser was in the country “illegally and unlawfully” in the country, and ineligible to purchase ammunition… and, for the Breitbart crowd, to take a break from their usual “deport em all!” attitude to defend the right to buy ammunition without any oversight or limit.

It might be that oversight and call for limitations that may be behind this all too rare prosecution.

Mr. Gallegos, having “retired” from the arms business, and … it seems… relatively cooperative with the prosecution, probably will get off with a fine or some other nominal punishment. But considering how rare it has been to see a US gun dealer even prosecuted, there may be more going on. Specifically, pressure from Mexico.

With Mexico presently suing several arms manufacturers in the United States… probably not expecting to either get to trial, but rather to harass the arms manufactures and tie them up in depositions and hearings and other time-and-money consuming activities long enough to wrangle consessions from them (discontinuing marketing campaigns and gun designs specifically for the Mexican market, and perhaps forcing them to requiring retails to more closely scrutinize customers before making a sale, and… at the outside… US law prohibiting its citizens from holding arms manufacturers civilly or criminally liable for the use of their products, but not foreign governments… just maybe driving the companies out of the arms business, or at least putting a sizable dent in their businesses.

Given that the “Merida Plan” … which was sold as “assistance” to Mexico to fight a “War on Drugs” and did nothing other than result in a few 100,000 needless deaths and disappearces, other than distract the public from the dubious “election” of the Calderón presidency… has become a dead letter, and the present Mexican government both less willing to just accept US “assistance” without looking at the fine print, and less concerned with narcotics flowing north than with its domestic economic and social issues, it has been willing to twist the arms (quietly) of the United States in return for allowing even a minimum of US involvement in dealing with cross-border illegal traffic. Narcotics going north… of course… but only if the US deals with firearms and money coming south.

Wisely, I think, when it comes to fighting organized crime, this government has been putting its efforts into fighting money laundering, rather than just catching so-called cartel leaders (not that they don’t, but unlike during the Calderón era, they are taking them alive, and seizing their assets). It’s indicative of the change in tactics that, with the US offering a “bounty” of five million dollars a head for “Chapo Guzmán’s five sons, the President made it clear that the five are Mexican citizens, and if they are charged with crimes in Mexico, it’s Mexico’s justice system that will deal with them… and that bounty hunting is not legal in this country, nor would Mexico allow foreign agents to join in some hunt for them.

IN short… it appears that, after years of cross-border crime prevention being seen as a purely Mexican problem, that narcotics smuggling requires both buyers and sellers, and that… given the unpalatable alternative of a war on its own people — especially when its become obvious that narcotics use is not just a minority issue, but one shared by middle-class “white” people. — the alternative is to accept that the “drug trade”, just like any other major business, requires give and take, that if the consumers cannot be controlled, then the goods and services provided to the suppliers has to be cut off. Now… if the US would just crack down on the bankers and “LLCs” and financial institutions that pay for those guns and “thousands of rounds of ammunition” coming from Texas, we might get somewhere.

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