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Mexico has demanded an immediate investigation into the increase of U.S. military-grade weapons being found in the possession of drug cartels in the country.

Alicia Bárcena, secretary of foreign affairs of Mexico, shared on Monday that the country's department has recovered belt-fed machine guns, rocket launchers and grenades from the drug cartels, noting that these weapons are not sold to United States civilians but are available exclusively for the military of the U.S.

"The (Mexican) Defense Department has warned the United States about weapons entering Mexico that are for the exclusive use of the U.S. army," Bárcena said, as per AP News. "It is very urgent that an investigation into this be carried out."

Ken Salazar, United States ambassador to Mexico, confirmed that Mexican officials have raised concern regarding the weapons found and pledged that the United States will look into the matter.

"We are going to look into it, we are committed to working with Sedena (Mexico's Defense Department) to see what's going on," Salazar said.

The Mexican army revealed last year that it seized 221 fully automatic machine guns, 56 grenade launchers and a dozen rocket launchers since 2018. All these U.S. military weapons were reportedly recovered from Mexican drug cartels.

There are several ways by which a drug cartel could receive these U.S. weapons. During the 1980s conflicts, Central America witnessed an increase in U.S. weaponry. At the same time, military-grade arms occasionally disappeared from U.S. weapon stocks.

This raised questions about the possibility that manufacturers providing these arms to the United States military were sending the weapons to other countries or via the black market.

Bárcena's comments came after Mexico's marines said last week that it detained one of the top leaders of the Gulf drug cartel, José Alberto Vilano, also known as "La Kena." However, there were no reports of weapons being found.

Drug cartel gunmen have been a threat to Mexico's security, and it has become a bigger issue in recent times as many people cross the Mexican border and get kidnapped by the cartel.

Previously, federal forces in Mexico's Cancun rescued seven immigration agents who were kidnapped, beaten up and threatened to be killed by suspected drug cartel gunmen. The kidnapping came as many migrants were leaving their countries due to economic and political crises.

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