How the U.S. arms industry benefits from the drug war (4)

An update to this series

As CBS news reported, “the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has encouraged gun shops to sell thousands of assault rifles and other weapons destined for Mexican drug cartels.”

Does it get any better than this?

The excuse was, well, we give them to the small guys, and we track them so we get to the big fish.

Problem is, tracking guns on the move appears to be difficult. Until they are used in a crime, such as the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona last December.

We are not talking about small things here. Over 1600 firearms worth over $1 million were sold on Phoenix-area gun-shops, among them 178 AK-47-type assault rifles and three Barret 50-caliber rifles to one suspect alone.

So, was it worth while?

That depends whom you ask. For the gun-shop owners, of course. For the drug cartel, sure.

As for the stated goal to take down drug cartels – not so fast. After 15 months of operation the ATF still “hope” evidence collected so far will help one day.

In the meantime ….

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