Armed assailants stopped and stole two trailer-loads of small-caliber ammunition, consisting of more than 7 million total rounds, bound for the U.S. on June 11.
The Mexican newspaper Milenio reported the more than 7 million rounds of ammunition were valued at more than 55 million Mexican Pesos, more than $2.7 million USD. The theft took place on a highway in Mexico’s most violent state, Guanajuato.
The ammunition manufacturer, Tecnos Industries, told the Associated Press that 98.5 percent of the stolen ammunition was .22 caliber, not commonly used by criminal organizations like the Mexican cartels. The drivers for the ammunition shipments were later found alive following the robbery.
Security analyst Juan Ibarrola, who also acts as spokesman for the Tecnos Industries company, told the Associated Press, “These will be of no use to them, given that they don’t use these weapons.”
The Associated Press reported Mexican cartels typically prefer larger, high-velocity ammunition for AK-47 and AR-15 rifles or 9 mm weapons, but Mexican authorities have also occasionally caught people selling improvised “pen guns” — single-shot devices disguised as pens that use the small .22 rounds.
Milenio reported the total amount of .22 caliber ammunition, including 5 million rounds of .22 LR high-speed and super hummingbird, was valued at about 46 million pesos (About $2.28 million USD). Other stolen ammunition included about 295,000 rounds of .40 S&W ammunition, valued at over 2.5 million pesos (about $124,002 USD).
Tecnos Industries’ ammunition is sold in the U.S. under the Aguila brand. The ammunition is manufactured in Cuernavaca, in the southern Mexican state of Morelos, and is regularly shipped north across the U.S.-Mexico border. The shipment was on its way north when it passed through Guanajuato.
The ammunition theft comes amid an ammunition shortage that has been ongoing for months in the U.S. amid record gun sales. In May, the FBI completed 3.2 million background checks for firearm purchases, marking the 17th consecutive month of record background checks for gun purchases in the U.S.