Assault weapons trafficked into Mexico were used in an ambush and massacre of police officers in Michoacán on Monday.
This was followed on Tuesday in Guerrero by the killing by soldiers of 13 civilians armed with assault rifles, who reportedly fired on and killed one soldier. According to initial reports, gunmen attacked an army patrol in Iguala municipality, killing one soldier. Soldiers then responded and killed 13 armed civilians. The military recovered six AK-47 rifles, six AR-15s, a Galil rifle, hand grenade, and six handguns.
Thirty gunmen attacked police in Aguililla, Michoacán on Monday, killing 14 members of state police who were reportedly picking up a witness. Press accounts state that shells found on the scene were of .223 and 7.62 calibers, used in assault weapons as well as military rifles, and that holes in police vehicles hit by gunfire were characteristic of .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifles. All such caliber weapons are not legally sold to civilians in Mexico but are commercially sold in most U.S. states.
According to press reports, Michoacán governor Silvano Aureoles suggested that local municipal police in Aguililla may be investigated for involvement in the massacre. Police in Michoacán received 958 firearms with 7.62 caliber and 407 firearms with .223 caliber between 2008 and 2013, according to receipts for firearm sales by the Mexican army to police. Stop US Arms to Mexico obtained the receipts from the Mexican army through public records requests. The receipts do not indicate what police agency in Michoacán received most of the weapons.
Michoacán is also the Mexican state with the second largest number of firearms recovered by the army, despite its distance from the United States, the source of 70% of traced crime guns, with 14,267 guns recovered in the state from 2010 through 2018. The weapons recovered in Michoacán include 342 Colt .223 assault rifles, 89 Bushmaster .223 rifles, 15 Barrett .50 rifles, and other U.S.-produced rifles of .223 and 7.62 calibers.
Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico has just published a map of illegal firearms recovered by the army in Mexico from 2010 through 2018, together with a map of licensed gun dealers in U.S. border states, by city.