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Mexico Files Lawsuit Against Arizona-Based Gun Dealers

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, FIle

On Monday, the Mexican government filed a lawsuit against five Arizona-based gun dealers, accusing them of taking part in illegal weapons trafficking, a Mexican official told Reuters.


Alejandro Celorio, a legal adviser, told Reuters in an interview that the lawsuit filed in federal court centers on “straw” sales of guns to customers who buy them for someone else. 

"There is traceability information that shows that weapons that have been found in criminal scenes in Mexico were sold by those corporations we're suing today," Celorio said. "The wrong practices and the way these distributors sell their firearms have made Arizona the epicenter of gun smuggling in the U.S.”

The lawsuit, which was seen by Reuters, reportedly names Sprague's Sports Inc; SnG Tactical, LLC; Diamondback Shooting Sports, Inc; Lone Prairie, LLC, D/B/A Hub Target Sports; and Ammo A-Z, LLC as defendants. It alleges that each defendant “knowingly participates in trafficking guns into Mexico” and asks that the defendants implement stronger measures to stop arms trafficking, monitor firearm sales and pay damages to the government.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told the Associated Press that “we are suing them because clearly there is a pattern, we contend that it is obvious that there is weapons trafficking and that it is known that these guns are going to our country.” He added that about 60 percent of weapons seized in Mexico were believed to have been sold in 10 counties in the U.S.

Celorio told AP that “they are not careful when they sell products, so they allow straw purchasers to buy guns,” adding that “they are negligent and facilitate straw purchasers, to the point of being accomplices.”


“The main argument of our lawsuit is that these businesses are an organized part of a criminal enterprise, a mechanism to facilitate criminals and cartels in Mexico being able to use their weapons,” Celorio added.

The lawsuit comes after a federal judge dismissed a $10 billion lawsuit filed by Mexico against the U.S.-based gun manufacturers, seeking to hold them responsible for the flow of weapons to drug cartels. A Mexican official said at the time that it would appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.

"This suit by the Mexican government has received worldwide recognition and has been considered a turning point in the discussion around the gun industry's responsibility for the violence experienced in Mexico and the region," Mexico's foreign ministry said in a statement about the case. 

Reuters noted that U.S. law outlines that straw purchasing is a crime and carries a sentence as much as 15 to 25 years if the offense is related to drug trafficking.

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