Education and Communications

How Do Cartels Get Their Weapons? | Trafficked With Mariana Van Zeller

[engine revving] [suspenseful music] MARIANA VAN ZELLER: In my quest
to expose how American guns are trafficked throughout
Mexico, I never expected to be headed out to sea. But as we move deeper
into the waters, these smugglers break
down their operation. The Sea of Cortez is
over 700 miles long but less than 100 miles wide. That means these smugglers
can make the crossing in less than three hours,
completely bypassing the military checkpoints set
up along Mexico’s highways. Right now, they say
they’re delivering more and more guns to Sonora
directly across the sea. That’s the same
heavily contested territory that
Hector in Mexicali is also sending guns to. I think we’re– that’s it. I think we’re going to
that beach over there. Oh, there were some guys there. There are some guys actually
waiting at the beach. Or at least one
guy that I see now. And he’s coming
to greet the boat. He’s all dressed in black
with a mask, as well. Yeah, they’re anchoring
right there so this is it. I’m told the man in black is
another buyer from Sonora. [suspenseful music] Hola. CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER: A month. [speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
50 calibers, RPGs. [speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER: None
of this sounds like arming a criminal organization. They’re arming for war. [speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] [upbeat music] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
I’m told the buyer is from an affiliated
cartel fighting to regain territory in Sonora. He’s picking up a fresh order,
including a pair of customized handguns for rich narcos who
don’t just want a weapon, they want to make a statement. Sales like this are common
for these smugglers. The market for American
assault rifles is exploding. CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER: [bleep] So they had 200 AK-47s [speaking spanish] which is
what they call them here, come through here, San Felipe,
in just one day last week. [speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER: Here’s
where things get interesting. Remember when I said
that you never ask what cartel someone belongs to? I didn’t. This guy just decided to
tell me that he works for one of the fastest growing
mafias in Mexico, the Jalisco Cartel, also known as CJNG. MAN: [speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER: The
organization is only about 10 years old, but
aggressive maneuvers and terrifying
ISIS-style executions have helped them
dominate underworld markets across Mexico,
becoming the Sinaloa Cartel’s biggest rival. And the kingpin of
these violent upstarts, perhaps the most dangerous
drug lord in the world, is known as El Mencho. CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish] MARIANA VAN ZELLER:
[speaking spanish] CARTEL MEMBER:
[speaking spanish]
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMayrvVOMOo

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