Here is an excerpt from Elliot Spagat's Associated Press article:
"U.S. authorities on Tuesday reported a spike in seizures of guns and cash along the Mexican border since they began assigning more agents to stem the flow of southbound contraband. Nearly 600 illegal weapons were seized along the border by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials from March through September, an increase of more than 50 percent from the same period of 2008. The agencies seized more than $40 million in cash along the border from mid-March through September, nearly double the amount in the year-ago period. The seizures represent a tiny fraction of business done by Mexican and Colombian drug lords. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, those drug lords generate $18 billion to $39 billion in wholesale drug proceeds in the United States each year. Cash proceeds are smuggled across the border to Mexico. But U.S. officials said the figures demonstrate that heightened enforcement is paying off." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I'm always a fan of reading good news, and this seems to fit the bill. A 50 percent increase in weapons seizures is a sizable increase, and so is the amount of cash seized. The increased enforcement activities are long overdue, and I'm happy to see that US agencies working along the border are getting some concrete results.
I'm also happy to see a dose of reality with the statement that the seizures represent only a drop in the bucket. I'll try to put the 600 guns seized over a six-month period in perspective. Last year, over 20,000 guns were seized from criminals in Mexico. That's just the number seized, not the number actually out there and being used by DTOs. God knows how many more were "seized" by dirty cops and rerouted without being reported. One Mexican official said two years ago that over 2,000 guns come into Mexico from the US every day. I don't know how accurate that number is (it's likely exaggerated..after all who's counting?), but even if you make the relatively conservative and speculative guess that 100 guns are coming in every day, US authorities only seized six days' worth of guns in a six-month period.
Look, in the southbound inspection business, you have to start somewhere. And it's not like US authorities are just starting, either. It's just that they now have a new mandate and (hopefully) more resources to do the southbound inspection job. Hopefully next year we'll see a similar or larger increase in seizures as the process gets further refined.