Mexican authorities have recovered around 68,000 guns that traced back to the United States in the past five years, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) said on Thursday.
“Since 2007, trace data shows a trend in recovered and submitted crime guns from Mexico shifting from pistols and revolvers to rifles,” the ATF said in a statement.
The agency added that reports from officials in Mexico show “certain types of rifles, such as the AK and AR variants with detachable magazines, are used more frequently to commit violent crime by drug trafficking organizations.”
The ATF said it was able to trace back 68,000 of more than 99,000 guns that were submitted by Mexican authorities.
Mexican officials in the past have complained that drug cartels often wind up with U.S.-sourced guns in their bloody wars against each other and the army.
At least 47,000 people have been killed in the conflict since President Felipe Calderon directed the army to act against cartels in 2006.