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Exposing the gun buyers for Mexican drug cartels

gunnrunning3Day 2 of “Texas’ Deadliest Export” is out. The series shows how easy it is for Mexican drug cartels to buy guns in Texas. Sunday’s story by Reporter Guillermo Contreras focuses on the straw buyers — the people with clean criminal histories who buy guns that wind up being used in cop killings and gun battles in Mexico:

“Anyone who can legally buy a gun can get caught up in the scheme,” said Mark Siebert, resident agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in San Antonio. “It’s college students, girls, guys, grandmothers. It’s anybody.”

In Houston, ATF agents uncovered one network of more than 30 straw buyers who spent more than $400,000 on guns, said J. Dewey Webb, agent in charge of the office there, which oversees San Antonio and much of south Texas.

“A lot of straw purchasers say, ‘Hey I’m not hurting anybody. I’m just making a few dollars,” Webb said. “But that AK killed someone in Mexico. It’s all connected and it’s all relevant.”

The value of this series of watchdog stories is how they help people understand a complicated problem. We’ve all heard the violence in Mexico. It seems like a vague, distant problem with no connection to us. But the Express-News stories are answering some fundamental questions, such as, where do the guns come from? And who actually supplies them?

Related: Constitution of the Mexican Mafia: Democracy, respect and no bets worth more than ice cream

Guillermo names names and shows readers how Texas is connected to the drug violence. He give readers some surprising answers, which is what a good investigative news story is supposed to do.