MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities said Tuesday they busted clandestine AR-15 semi-automatic rifle assembly operations on two farms in western Mexico, believed to be the first known example of such weapons being put together in the country.
The investigation found that at least some of the AR-15 parts were being produced on the farms, while other pieces apparently were brought in from the United States.
Jalisco State Prosecutor Luis Carlos Najera said four people were detained and 18 weapons seized. He estimated that around 100 weapons could have been produced depending on how much raw material the suspects may have gotten their hands on.
Najera said investigators believe the operation supplied arms to buyers in the state of Michoacan and also to the local Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
"So we consider this to be a strong blow against organized crime," he added.
Authorities seized equipment that Najera described as "highly sophisticated machinery" designed to ensure the weapons function properly.
He said state prosecutors were investigating jointly with the Federal Attorney General's Office and U.S. law enforcement.