Guns recovered in large weapons seizures in Mexico are being traced deep into the U.S, miles from the border, illustrating an expanding trafficking network that feeds Mexico’s violent drug cartels, USA Today reports. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives records show 90 percent of the weapons recovered and traced originate from a growing number of sources spanning from the Northwest to New England. The trafficking routes have created what Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), described this week as an “iron river of guns” flowing to the warring cartels, contributing to about 7,000 deaths in the past 14 months.
Four months after the largest weapons seizure in Mexican history, U.S. investigators have traced 383 of the more than 400 weapons seized from a stash house in Reynosa, Mexico, to 11 states including Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, and Connecticut. Nearly a year after a Tijuana gun battle left 13 dead, the seizure of 60 guns has prompted probes in Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Denver. Guns, many of them high-powered assault rifles, stream across the border at such a pace that some are being recovered in Mexico within days after their purchase in the U.S.