“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel tried, in 2014, to manufacture its own weapons to more efficiently supply its hundreds of hitmen who face their enemies every day.
In an effort to avoid relying on traffickers and to prevent the weapons used in crimes from being traced by authorities by serial numbers, El Mencho’s criminal group put into operation two medium-scale factories for AR-15 rifles, the only ones authorities have found so far.
The first was located in a small warehouse at 2691 Isla Trapani Street, in the Villa Guerrero neighborhood in the municipality of Guadalajara, while the second was found in the Quinta Velarde neighborhood in the same municipality.
“We are securing a highly sophisticated machinery, which has a very precise software that allowed to make the cuts to finish the mechanism of the weapon and that the weapon finished perfectly,” said the then Jalisco prosecutor, Luis Carlos Nájera.
Inside the premises in the Villa Guerrero neighborhood, Jalisco state police found a CNC lathe machine, several metal molds for making magazines, butts, barrels and firing mechanisms.
Authorities presumed that the factory had the capacity to build around 20 rifles per day. State police seized five finished AR-15 rifles and a pair of barrels at the site.
On the black market, this type of weapon sells for between 80,000 and 100,000 pesos; the price varies according to the physical condition of the rifle.
As these weapons are manufactured by the criminal group itself, it is almost impossible for the authorities to identify them, as they do not have serial numbers.
In the warehouse in the Quinta Velarde neighborhood, lathe machinery, barrels and rifle molds were also found. Five people were detained there. Both arms factories are so far unprecedented in the country.
MILENIO requested via transparency information on the number of clandestine factories secured in the country by the Sedena, the Navy and the FGR, from 2015 to date, and they all replied that they had no information on the matter.
The authorities found the location of the factories, thanks to investigations carried out by officials from Jalisco and the US government.
So far it is unknown how long both factories operated, as well as the number of rifles that were assembled.
Meanwhile, in the municipality of Zacatlán de las Manzanas, in the state of Puebla, a family has been dedicated to the manufacture of weapons for more than a century. It is the only arms company in Mexico that has all the permits required by the Ministry of National Defense to operate.
The history of the only arms factory in Mexico dates back to the time of the Mexican Revolution. Currently, more than five generations have been dedicated to the manufacture of weapons, which enjoy an excellent reputation because they are not only sold in Mexico, but also bought by foreigners.
The brand name of the weapons made in Zacatlán de Las Manzanas, Puebla, is Trejo. They currently manufacture mostly 22-caliber pistols, commonly used by hunters, in volume.
The Constitution allows the use of weapons for personal defense, under permit from the Sedena. The use of the military object will be limited, only within the home, as established by the Magna Carta.