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Illicit arms factories busted in Guadalajara

October 8, 2014
Along with the AK-47, the AR-15 assault rifle is the weapon of choice for most Mexican cartels.

Along with the AK-47, the AR-15 assault rifle is the weapon of choice for most Mexican drug cartels.

Mexican authorities have shut down two clandestine weapons factories in Guadalajara, in what is thought to be the first instance of criminals producing their own firearms in the country.

A joint investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the Jalisco state police led to the discovery and dismantling of the labs where criminals were assembling AR-15 assault rifles.

The authorities arrested four men and decommissioned 18 firearms at two properties in Guadalajara’s Villa Guerrero and Antigua Penal neighborhoods, revealed Jalisco Attorney General Carlos Najera in a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“This group is dedicated to sending arms to Michoacan and we also believe that they are selling arms to the local cartel, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion,” Najera said. “This is a strong blow against organized crime.”

The suspects are believed to have manufactured around 100 assault rifles in recent months, using parts imported from the United States, Najera said. They were equipped with highly sophisticated machinery and advanced software that enabled them to make precise incisions and finish assembling the weapons, he added.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of the M-16 assault rifle used by the U.S. armed forces. Along with the AK-47, is the weapon of choice of most Mexican drug gangs. Such arms are typically smuggled into the country from the United States or Central America, but the existence of assembly plants within Mexico is another indication of the sophisticated nature of today’s cartels.

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