Texas Top Seller of US Guns Traced to Mexico

Washington Post probe reveals leading dealers

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2010 9:09 AM CST

(Newser) – More US guns seized in Mexican drug violence come from Texas than any other state—and more come from Houston than any other Texas city, the Washington Post finds after a year-long investigation. The probe isolated the top 12 US dealers of guns traced to Mexico, and uncovered the biggest: Bill Carter, whose Houston-area chain of stores is the source of more than 115 guns seized in the past 2 years. Of the remaining 11, seven are in Texas, which has 3,800 gun retailers, three are in Arizona, and one is in California.

Drug cartels coming to the US for their guns isn’t new, says an authority—but the volume of high-powered rifles heading south of the border is. Some 60,000 US guns have been seized in the past 4 years. "One of the reasons that Houston is the number one source, you can go to a different gun store for a month and never hit the same gun store," said an ATF agent. While you can buy a 9mm handgun along the border, "if you come to Houston," which has 300 gun retailers, "you can probably buy it cheaper because there's more dealers, there's more competition."

An investigator places evidence markers at the site where a man was shot to death in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday Dec. 9, 2010.
An investigator places evidence markers at the site where a man was shot to death in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday Dec. 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Soldiers escort a 14-year-old known as El Ponchis who is suspected of working as a killer for a drug cartel, in the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico, Friday Dec. 3, 2010.
Soldiers escort a 14-year-old known as "El Ponchis" who is suspected of working as a killer for a drug cartel, in the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico, Friday Dec. 3, 2010.   (AP Photo/Antonio Sierra)
Federal Police officers escort accused drug trafficker Carlos Montemayor, center, and two other alleged drug cartel members in Mexico City, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010.
Federal Police officers escort accused drug trafficker Carlos Montemayor, center, and two other alleged drug cartel members in Mexico City, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
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