JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – A top Mexican official is urging the United States to step up the fight against weapons smuggling into Mexico.

Those guns, including AR-15s, AK-47s, 9mm guns and even .50-caliber sniper rifles, often end up in the hands of drug cartels blamed for a dramatic rise in homicides in Mexico in the last three years.

“Mexico in its territory is seizing five times more weapons that the United States is seizing weapons headed to Mexico on its side,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said during a visit to Juarez this week. “You have no reason on (your) territory to let someone with weapons cross into Mexico when you know it is illegal to have those weapons in our country. [….] We are asking, at the very least, for a similar effort.”

Mexico claims that half a million guns a year are pouring across the U.S. border and that American gun makers know this and refuse to do something about it. Mexico is suing a dozen U.S. gun manufacturers for negligence in U.S. federal court and presented initial arguments this month, Ebrard said. Lawyers for the gunmakers also are presenting their side of the story to the court.

“We are saying ‘you are producing weapons that you know will be sold to (drug trafficking organizations). The weapons targeted at that market are bringing about homicides, femicides, violence into Mexico,” Ebrard said. “That’s why I accuse those businesses of negligence and (want them) to stop making those weapons.”

The gunmakers have denied the chargers.

Gun and ammunition seizures along the Southwestern border of the United States, by fiscal year. (CBP graphic)

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, 92 guns or ammunition were seized all along the Southwest border in July, and 941 have been seized during fiscal year 2022, which began on Oct. 1. CBP reported 1,134 seizures in fiscal year 2021.

In March, the Mexican National Guard seized 128 semi-automatic rifles, 19 machine guns, one submachine gun, and six .50-caliber sniper rifles in a single bust, the Associated Press reported. The raid took place on a stash house in a town in Sonora 200 miles south of the Arizona border.