By KELIN DILLON
According to new data released by Mexico’s Secretary of Defense (Sedena), the Mexican army has allocated a 761-million peso budget for high-powered assault rifles and riot-control supplies for the National Guard (GN) in 2023 – scheduled purchases that stand in stark contrast to the federal government’s controversial “hugs, not bullets” policy toward combatting Mexico’s rampant and continually growing nationwide violence problem.
The information reveals that the Sedena has contracted a total of 3,546 long weapons for use by the GN, including 604 Negev NG-7 7.62-caliber machine guns manufactured in Israel, the same caliber purportedly used by the Armed Forces when fighting against organized crime.
“In every confrontation there are weapons of this caliber, even in air combat, as in the last case of the capture of Ovidio Guzmán,” a military source told daily Mexican daily newspaper Reforma.
These machine guns are set to come from Mexico’s $6.2 million weapons contract with Israeli manufacturer Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), which will reportedly also provide Mexico with 24,160 7.62 caliber cartridges and 2,058 sets of 1,000 M13 ammunition links.
Mexico is also set to receive 3,948 40-mm non-lethal grenade launchers, 3,549,000 tear gas projectiles, pepper spray, target-marking paints, 88,339 white smoke grenades and 40,418 portable sprinklers, says the Sedena tender.
The tenders also detail the purchase of 319 Barrett 50-caliber rifles, long-range sniper rifles that allegedly are only used for training GN personnel, “except when there is an imminent threat,” and the acquisition of 2,533 Colt M4 5.56 caliber carbines, which were reportedly obtained for the Parachute Rifle Brigade of the Mexican Air Force (FAM) and special forces training.
These guns are set to be sourced from U.S. arms manufacturers Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and Colt Manufacturing Company to the tune of $4.4 million and $7.3 million contracts respectively.
Both of these U.S. arms manufacturers were notably named in a lawsuit by the Mexican government in 2021 in Mexico’s attempt to hold eight U.S. weapons-makers accountable for supposedly facilitating arms-trafficking into Mexico, before a judge dismissed the claim last September.