Phoenix has become a key supplier of guns and ammunition to the Mexican drug cartel south of the border.
I worked on this interesting and extremely disturbing story for Phoenix Magazine with journalist and blogger Amanda Crawford. More than 2000 guns seized in Mexico over the past few years have been traced to Arizona- and these are only the few guns that have been found! For this article we talked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), pawn shops, guns stores and the US Attorney’s office. Amanda’s narrative follows the story of one straw buyer who started purchasing guns for the Mexican cartel. He and a friend bought 18 firearms at various locations in Phoenix all within 2 short days including AR-15s and .45s.
Of all the guns I saw over the course of working on this story the one that most made an impression was the .50- caliber rifle that uses bullets the size of a grown man’s fingers and can rip through a building at long range. While talking with Bill Newell, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division about the increase in trafficking of .50- calibers he said that trained people can shoot a dinner plate from a mile away- forming his hands into a circle the size of a dinner plate he held that circle around his face. “What is the size of a dinner plate?”
This article is in the October 2010 issue of Phoenix Magazine on newsstands now. Read a portion of the article by clicking here.
ATF agents Peter Forcelli (left) and Bill Newell.
.50- caliber bullets.
Seized guns at ATF.
US Attorney Dennis Burke.
Kick ass journalist Amanda Crawford.