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USA: judge rejects Mexican complaint against arms manufacturers


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Adds statement and intention to appeal from Mexico

NEW YORK (awp/afp) – A federal judge in Massachusetts on Friday dismissed a lawsuit in which Mexico accused major US arms manufacturers of encouraging violence by Mexican drug traffickers, according to legal documents seen by AFP.

“Unfortunately for the government of Mexico, all of its claims are prohibited by federal law or dismissed for other reasons,” Judge Dennis Saylor said.

“Although the court has deep compassion for the Mexican people, and absolutely no compassion for those who supply weapons to Mexican criminal organizations, it must respect the law,” he added in a long document.

In August 2021, Mexico filed an unprecedented lawsuit against nine US arms manufacturers including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Colt, Glock, Century Arms, Ruger and Barrett.

The Mexican government accused them of illegal trade on its territory, estimating that between 70 and 90% of the weapons recovered from crime scenes in its country came from trafficking from the United States.

The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced its intention to appeal the judgment rendered Friday in the United States.

“The civil claim for restitution from those who profit from the violence suffered by Mexican men and women takes the next step, in which the Chancellery will continue to insist that the negligence of these companies affects our country seriously,” the Mexican ministry said in a statement.

Many weapons arrive in Mexican territory as part of what is commonly called “operation hormiga”: intermediaries buy small quantities of weapons in the United States, where it is easy to acquire them, then cross the border.

Mexico has been plagued by a wave of violence since the mid-2000s. Some 340,000 people have died there violently since 2006, when the government deployed the army to fight drug cartels.

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