A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Guns Found South of the Border


Q: Did border patrol recently discover a large cache of guns on the Arizona border?

A: No. A chain e-mail making that claim shows pictures of a seizure by the Mexican Army about 70 miles south of the Texas border.

FULL QUESTION

Is this e-mail true?

Look what they found on the Arizona border!

Date: Friday, June 11, 2010, 1:37 PM

Janet Napolitano is in so over her head! She’s incompetent, like the rest of that group!

Well, Janet Napolitano must have been looking the other way when she said we don’t have a big problem on the Arizona Border. What was she thinking?? Remember these are only the ones they found. It’s time for all of us to put the pressure on all our elected officials to stop this vote pursuing ignorance of a huge problem.

WELL, I GUESS WE DID NOT HEAR THIS ON THE NEWS?

Why we MUST support our friends in ARIZONA. This seizure was five days ago. Located on the Arizona border! Exactly where did you hear about it in OUR media ?????

[EET ]

Thank God for the border patrol that this did not come over the border. There is one “graphic picture” but it tells the story. Let’s quit trying to decide who is violating our federal laws “to make a better life” – and ENFORCE the laws across the board on EVERYONE violating them – Nothing discriminatory about that amigos !!!!!!!

That way we won’t have to lament or wonder just how many of the illegal aliens legalized (synonymous with rewarded) under the latest attempt to legislate away the millions who have spit on our laws – are MS-13, Zetas, cartel members, and other scum that would be “legal”. There are MANY Hispanic men and women that I both love and respect that understand and support Arizona and any citizen’s desire to keep our country a safe place to live and raise our children and grandchildren.

I hope we can ignore and recognize the majority of the naysayers for the photo-op, attention-loving clowns they are – and start coming together as AMERICANS that want what’s best for AMERICA !!!

[/EET]

FULL ANSWER

This chain e-mail contains several photographs of a large number of guns confiscated in a wooded area. We have only included one of the photographs above; readers can view the rest on various blogs and Internet forums, such as this one.

The anonymous author of this e-mail claims these weapons were “found on the Arizona border,” and says, “Thank God for the border patrol that this did not come over the border.” The author uses these images to back up his or her view on immigration — that federal laws should be enforced “across the board on EVERYONE violating them.” This unnamed person is certainly entitled to that opinion — but the author misrepresents these photos and gets several facts about them wrong.

The photos are of a Mexican Army bust of what is believed to be an organized crime and drug trafficker training camp. These guns were not found by U.S. border patrol. They also weren’t found “on the Arizona border.” Instead, they were found in Higueras, near Monterrey, about 70 miles from the Texas border. The location is several hundred miles from Arizona, which, it’s safe to assume, the author names because of the state passed a controversial immigration law this year.

The same images are seen in this Monterrey, Mexico, local TV report on the bust, which the Mexican military made with helicopters and ground troops on May 11, discovering a large collection of weapons, including more than 100 assault rifles, plus hand grenades and grenade launchers — as well as SUVs and military clothing. One man trying to flee the camp was killed. Spanish-language news reports on the incident can be found on other news sites, such as Alerta Periodistica, which includes one of the photos being circulated in the chain e-mail.

The Houston Chronicle also reported on the incident, saying it was the third such raid in about five weeks as Mexican authorities have attempted to crack down on gang activity.

Houston Chronicle, May 12: The Monterrey area and the natural gas-producing ranch lands between it and the Texas border have exploded in violence this spring as the Zetas fight gunmen from the Gulf Cartel and its gangland allies. President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 1,800 assault troops amid the worsening conflict.

The enhanced military presence has sparked more than 50 clashes with gangsters this year in which dozens of suspected gunmen have been killed or captured. It also has resulted in civilian deaths.

Newsweek also reported that the camp was run by the Zetas cartel, and the magazine said that U.S. law enforcement believed that all of the weapons had originally been purchased in the United States:

Newsweek, Declassified blog, May 17: The Mexican military has discovered a major training camp run by the notorious Zetas drug cartel and stocked with an arsenal of military weapons, including 140 semi automatic assault rifles and 10,000 rounds of ammunition—all of them believed to be purchased in the United States, U.S. law enforcement officials tell Declassified. The discovery last week of the training camp in the town of Higueras, just 70 miles south of the U.S. border in the state of Nuevo León, provides fresh evidence for Mexican President Felipe Calderón—due to meet with President Obama in Washington on Wednesday – to press his case that the U.S. government is failing to crack down on a massive flow of illegal weapons into Mexico.

— Lori Robertson

Sources

Las Noticias. News report, Monterrey, Mexico. YouTube.com 12 May 2010.

Alerta Periodistica. “Interviene Ejército campamento de delincuentes; aseguran arsenal.” 11 May 2010.

Althaus, Dudley. “Mexico stages ranch raid Move against Zetas captures weapons cache.” Houston Chronicle. 12 May 2010.

Isikoff, Michael. “Is the Flow of U.S. Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels Increasing Under Obama?” Newsweek.com. 17 May 2010.