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CAB005 / Mexico / MEXICO: TRACKING NARCO-WEAPONRY

SUBJECT: MEXICO:  TRACKING NARCO-WEAPONRY

¶1. (S) SUMMARY: An investigation into recent attacks by Mexican narco-traffickers has led officials within the GOM to believe that cartels are receiving high-powered weaponry from Russia. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) During recent months Mexican narco-traffickers have directed a series of attacks against Mexican law enforcement, military facilities, and civilian crowds.  The escalation in the strength and power of the weapons used by the narco-traffickers has not only cost lives, but has taken its toll in terms of the damage done to local civil society.

¶3. (S)  The ATF has been working with Mexican law enforcement authorities to identify the origin of various high-powered weapons and explosive devices recovered locally over the past few months, including several weapons used at the Consulate during the October 11th attack.

¶4. (SBU) Twenty-six AN-94 assault rifles were recovered by Mexican law enforcement on October 16, after a raid at a narco-warehouse in Guadalupe (a working class suburb of Monterrey). In addition, nineteen GP-30 under-barrel grenade launchers, sixteen Kord 12.7mm heavy machine guns, and twelve 30mm grenade rounds were recovered the same day in an abandoned armored vehicle that suspected narco-traffickers used to escape apprehension.

¶5. (S/NF) Local Mexican law enforcement has recovered an AGS-30 fullyautomatic grenade launcher used in the January 6th attack on Télévision Monterrey, a Monterrey television station.  Based upon ATF examination, it appears that the 30mm grenade rounds used in the attack on the Consulate have the same lot numbers, and are of similar design and style, as rounds located at the scene of the attack on the television station.

¶6. (S) On January 31, three men opened fire on a nightclub in Laredo, Texas. The attackers may have been targeting three off-duty police officers who were in the club at the time. All three attackers were armed with AN-94 assault rifles – identical in make and model to the ones recovered by Mexican police in Guadalupe.

¶7. (C) After a full investigation of the recovered armaments, the ATF determined that all of the weapons can be traced back to the Russian military. Upon contact, officials in the Russian government have agreed to full cooperation in determining how stocks of weapons have been diverted or are otherwise unaccounted for.

¶8. (C) COMMENT: ATF agents working with Mexican law enforcement determined that several weapons used by cartel members in recent attacks on the Consulate and a Mexican television station were of Russian origin. Officials within the Russian government have agreed to assist in the ongoing criminal investigation into how Russian military weapons ended up in the hands of Mexican cartel members. However, due to a need for national security and general government bureaucracy, one can expect little transparency in the process. If the Mexican government hopes to determine the true source of the weapons it will take a lot of political maneuvering and pressure -much of which the current administration may not be capable of. END COMMENT.

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