After a U.S. federal judge dismissed their original case against U.S. gun manufacturers for their role in the illegal trade of arms in Mexico, the Mexican government on Monday filed a new lawsuit targeting five U.S. gun distributors at the border that they believe are involved in the illegal trade.

The new suit, filed in Arizona’s federal district court, targets gun shops or dealers who engage in selling arms to “straw” purchasers who then resell it to smugglers, who in turn illegally sell the arms to Mexico. The monetary amount being sought by Mexico is unknown as of writing this, according to the AP News.

“We are suing them because clearly there is a pattern, we contend that it is obvious that there is weapons trafficking and that it is known that these guns are going to our country,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said.

Five stores have been named in the suit, situated in the cities of Tucson, Phoenix, and Yuma, Arizona. Among those named are 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, Reuters reported.

“There is traceability information that shows that weapons that have been found in criminal scenes in Mexico were sold by those corporations we're suing today,” legal advisor to Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department Alejandro Celorio Alcántara said.

“They are not careful when they sell products, so they allow straw purchasers to buy guns,” the advisor continued. “We are saying they are negligent and facilitate straw purchasers, to the point of being accomplices.”

The gun stores named have largely declined to comment regarding the lawsuit as of press time.

Over 17,000 homicides in Mexico have been linked to guns bought in the illegal gun trade, and Ebrard claims that over 60% of the guns that have been seized have been bought at the same 10 U.S. counties along the border. An estimated 2.2% of the guns made in the United States annually are smuggled into Mexico, Al Jazeera reported.

“If the United States is asking us to support them — and this [is] a good thing that we would work together to combat fentanyl, chemical ingredients, drug cartels — we also want them to help us reduce this influx of weapons that does us great harm,” Ebrard said.

The case is not expected to go to trial until the summer.

Mexico Illegal Gun Trade Rep. Image
This is a representational image. Tsvetoslav Hristov/Unsplash.

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