Focus on gun trade
The issues to tackle are immense and complex: there is demand for drugs in the US; corruption within police and judicial systems in Mexico; and grisly violence that overshadows all. Mexico is making some headway; On Thursday, the federal Attorney General's office announced the arrest of Vicente Carrillo Leyva, just a week after offering $2.1 million for his capture as a most-wanted drug suspects.
But the meeting Thursday, to focus primarily on the gun trade, gives Mexico a chance to address a key complaint: that no matter how hard they fight drug traffickers, their efforts will be undermined if the US continues to arm them.
It is no small task to access a gun in Mexico, at least legally. There are no commercial guns stores – those who want guns for self-protection or hunting must petition to the Mexican defense department. Intense background checks including psychological exams are carried out. Most of the guns in delinquents' hands in Mexico cross its borders illegally and circulate on the black market.
Even as Mexican President Felipe Calderón has deployed tens of thousands of troops across the country in an unprecedented push against drug traffickers, the weapons the traffickers employ are increasingly sophisticated.
90 perecent of guns recovered in Mexico traced to US
The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) reports that more than 90 percent of guns recovered in Mexico are traced back to the US. That includes thousands of semi-automatic rifles or other high-powered weaponry – typically purchased in stores or at guns shows legally in the US and smuggled over the border, usually in a pattern called "ant traffic" – so-named because they trickle in under car seats a few at a time.