MEXICO CITY, Aug 6 (Reuters) – The stream of high-caliber arms smuggled throughout the porous U.S. border has alarmed Mexican officers and few weapons are as highly effective because the U.S.-made M82 semi-automatic rifle more and more favored by the highly effective drug cartels.
The M82 can simply penetrate bulletproof vests, concrete partitions and even tanks, says its producer Barrett Firearms. Additionally it is one of many weapons of selection for drug cartels, based on the Mexican authorities, which this week filed a lawsuit within the U.S. District Courtroom in Massachusetts towards the corporate and 10 different gun producers.
Weapons such because the M82 are a part of a “torrent” of unlawful arms flowing south, Mexico alleges, partly as a result of producers’ negligent enterprise practices that had inspired unlawful arms trafficking. read more
Not one of the producers, together with Barrett, responded to Reuters’ requests for remark.
First manufactured within the Eighties, the M82 rose to prominence in the course of the first Gulf Warfare when it was adopted by the U.S. navy. Now it is utilized by greater than 70 safety businesses internationally, based on Barrett.
In Mexico, the weapon has disrupted the stability of energy between prison teams and poorly geared up police forces, based on Romain Le Cour Grandmaison, Program Director on the Mexico and Central America Workplace of Noria, a suppose tank.
“If in case you have a Barrett, it implies that any non-special forces such because the native police and the municipal police can not battle you,” Grandmaison mentioned.
“That leaves the navy as the one ones in a position to battle the cartels.”
The M82 weapons, typically fitted with a scope to behave as sniper’s weapon, can hearth 70 rounds per minute with a most vary of two,500 meters.
Between 2009 and 2020, authorities seized 358 M82 rifles, based on official figures cited by the Milenio newspaper. In 2019, a file 68 such weapons had been captured.
The uncooked energy of the rifle, which weighs about 14 kilograms (31 lb) and is 1.5 meters lengthy, was on present in mid-2020 throughout a military-style assassination try on Mexico Metropolis’s police chief that was captured by surveillance cameras.
Gunmen who left behind no less than one M82 rifle had been seen spraying the armor-plated automotive of police chief Omar Garcia Harfuch with high-velocity rounds. He was badly wounded, whereas two bodyguards and an harmless bystander had been killed.
In 2016, members of the “Knights Templar” cartel in Michoacan state allegedly downed a helicopter with an M82 rifle, the Mexican lawsuit mentioned.
The Barrett M82 was a “major problem” for safety forces as a result of its armor-piercing bullets can knock out the motors of reconnaissance automobiles and endanger helicopters, mentioned a Mexican official, who spoke on situation of anonymity.
The gun shouldn’t be within the fingers of civilians, the official mentioned.
“It is a weapon of struggle,” added the official.
For the cartels, the M82 has additionally develop into a standing image.
Felony gangs that want to venture energy typically publish photographs on social media of their members toting M82 weapons and newest navy devices, mimicking the type of particular forces items.
“It is a very symbolic weapon within the narco world and for the narco aesthetic,” Grandmaison mentioned.
“It exhibits you are on prime of the sport.”
Extra reporting by Dave Graham;
Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Enhancing by Raju Gopalakrishnan
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.