Mexico takes aim at Arizona gun dealers in new arms smuggling lawsuit
Mexico's government filed a new lawsuit against five Arizona gun dealers on Monday accusing them of participating in illicit weapons trafficking, a Mexican official told Reuters, in a push to hold retailers responsible for the deadly trade.
Mexican leaders have for years blasted illegal arms smuggling from the United States, with military-style guns often turning up at deadly crime scenes in the country.
Legal adviser Alejandro Celorio said in an interview the new lawsuit focuses on sales of firearms to "straw" purchasers, or to customers who purchase the weapon for someone else.
The new civil lawsuit, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, names as defendants Sprague's Sports Inc; SnG Tactical, LLC; Diamondback Shooting Sports, Inc; Lone Prairie, LLC, D/B/A Hub Target Sports; and Ammo A-Z, LLC.
SnG Tactical and Sprague's Sports declined to comment. The other dealers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
All of the retailers named as defendants are based in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona, which borders northern Mexico's Sonora state.
In the new lawsuit, the Mexican government asks the court to require the defendants to institute standards for monitoring sales and "fund studies, programs, advertising campaigns and other events focused on preventing unlawful trafficking of guns."
It also requests damages paid to the Mexican government to be determined in the trial.
"Defendants choose to sell guns using reckless and unlawful practices, despite the forseeability - indeed, virtual certainty - that they are thereby helping cause deadly cartel violence across the border," according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Arizona.
The new suit follows a $10 billion civil lawsuit filed by the Mexican government against U.S. gun manufacturers last year in Boston, which was dismissed by a U.S. judge late last month. Mexico is appealing the decision.
"There is traceability information that shows that weapons that have been found in criminal scenes in Mexico were sold by those corporations we are suing today," Celorio said.