Guns aren't so easy to get in Mexico, but in the United States, it's a whole different story.
That's why, federal prosecutors say, organizations like the Gulf Cartel and other drug selling operations turn to buyers in America to help them assemble arsenals they otherwise wouldn't be able to accumulate.
In three federal cases in the last two years, documents filed by federal agents and prosecutors lay out how the Gulf Cartel, which operates in northeast Mexico, used people living in Texas to procure guns and other weapons with the intent of smuggling them into Mexico.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the bulk of the firearms seized in Mexico and later traced were found to have come from southwestern border states in America.
The GAO concluded that of the 104,850 guns seized in Mexico from 2009 through 2014, 73,684 originated in the United States and most of those in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona.
In the federal cases in Texas filed in 2016 and 2017, nearly 50 weapons were purchased by what are known as "straw buyers," prosecutors said. In those cases, someone with a clean criminal record goes to a gun show or shop, buys the designated weapons and then arranges with the cartel to smuggle the firearms into Mexico, prosecutors said.
One person charged with working for the Gulf Cartel told an undercover agent that he planned to walk the guns 90 minutes across a deserted spot in the Texas-Mexico border not far from Rio Grande City, Texas and into Camargo, Mexico.
The federal cases in Texas are still pending in federal court. All involve have pleaded not guilty.