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More than 8,000 Colt firearms have been recovered in Mexico since 2010, according to Mexican army data


El Jefe, El Grito, and the Emiliano Zapata 1911.

All of those are Spanish-named Colt guns manufactured at one point in the past few decades. Translated, the first two names mean The Boss and The Shout (a tribute to Mexico’s Independence), while the third is a reference to Emiliano Zapata, a leader during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century who fought for the rural poor and is now regarded as a national hero.

Some of these models display Mexico’s national symbol along with the date of the nation’s independence day. Others have quotes and images engraved on the barrel attributed to Zapata. Some of them even have Aztec designs laid over the gun’s grip.

But all of them have the words “HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.” engraved on their barrels.

Gun designs like these, Mexico argued against Connecticut-based Colt in a 2021 lawsuit, don’t “even try to hide its pandering to the criminal market in Mexico.”

While the allegation wasn’t a novel one in international politics, its transition into a legal complaint was a first of its kind. A country’s government was formally claiming economic losses and fatal injuries caused by gun trafficking facilitated by a distributor and seven U.S. gunmakers: Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Smith & Wesson Brands, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Glock, Inc., Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc., and Century International Arms, Inc.

And Mexico isn’t just seeking monetary relief, but also court mandates that would require the gunmakers to improve monitoring of their distribution systems, ensure their guns are safe to use and finance projects focused on deterring gun trafficking.

Mexico’s accusations spilled into social media with the phrase “#NoMásTráficoDeArmas”, meaning “#NoMoreGunTraffficking,” including in a tweet from the official Twitter account belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico that specifically highlighted Colt guns.


To fill the gap in access to detailed trace data, some turned to the Mexican government, which proved successful and allowed for the creation of the most comprehensive database of firearms recovered by Mexico’s military and traced to the U.S.

The database was made possible by information requests sent to the Mexican military by the research and advocacy group, Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico, and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights.

The compiled data reveals that of the more than 129,000 guns recovered in the country by the Mexican army from January 1, 2010 to March 16, 2021, 66,256 of them, or 51%, had an unidentifiable make while more than 8,500 guns, or 6.6%, were confirmed to be manufactured by Colt.

Of those Colt manufactured guns, more than 5,000 of them were pistols and about 2,100 were rifles, making up 65% and 25%, respectively.

This data only represents what the Mexican army obtained, not what other law enforcement agencies across Mexico have recovered — data that is not publicly available.

However, some more detailed firearm trace data became available after a group by the name of Guacamaya hacked the Mexican government and was able to obtain 6,000 gigabytes of emails from Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense. The emails were made available to journalists and researchers, including John-Lindsay Poland, the coordinator of Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico, who made certain data available to the public.

In one of those emails, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office sent a file with detailed firearm trace data about guns recovered in Mexico from 2019 to 2020.

What’s new about this data is that for some of the traces it also includes the retailers where the gun was originally purchased. Of the Colt guns recovered, the retailers they originated from are located in dozens of states, as far away as Oregon and Texas. The detailed data also shows the guns’ models, revealing that El Jefe, among other Spanish-named Colt guns, are found in the dataset.

For example, according to the leaked data, a .38 caliber El Jefe Colt pistol was recovered in August 23, 2019. The trace points to an original purchase at AMCLO Home & Hardware gun shop in Roma, Texas.

Read CT Mirror’s full article here.