Image: The Mexican Navy lines up suspected members of the Zetas drug gang
Jorge Dan Lopez  /  Reuters
The Mexican Navy lines up suspected members of the Zetas drug gang on Thursday. According to officials, 204 rifles, 11 guns, 15 hand grenades, Mexican navy and U.S. army uniforms, more than 29,000 cartridges and over 441 pounds of cocaine were seized in the operation in the north of Mexico.
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updated 6/14/2011 4:22:57 AM ET 2011-06-14T08:22:57

About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico and submitted to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States, according to a report released by three U.S. senators Monday.

Of the 29,284 firearms recovered by authorities in Mexico in 2009 and 2010, 20,504 came from the United States, according to figures provided to the senators by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Most of those weapons — 15,131 — were U.S. made, while another 5,373 were of foreign manufacture but had moved through the United States into Mexico.

The ATF said the remainder of the weapons total — 8,780 arms — were of "undetermined origin due to insufficient information provided."

The figure of the number of guns arriving in Mexico from north of the border has been polemical ever since a June 2009 U.S. report covering earlier years said that 87 percent of guns seized in Mexico came from the United States.

Story: Teen, 2 kids and 2 women die in Mexico shooting

While the report did not specify why the percentage had changed, the most recent figures appear to included more gun-trace reports, as the reporting program in Mexico became easier to use.

Evidence that U.S. weapons trafficking has been fueling a bloody drug war that has cost more than 35,000 lives in Mexico since late 2006 has angered many Mexicans.

President lashes out
On Saturday, in a speech to the Mexican-American community in San Jose, California, President Felipe Calderon lashed out at the U.S. weapons industry.

"I accuse the U.S. weapons industry of (responsibility for) the deaths of thousands of people that are occurring in Mexico," Calderon said. "It is for profit, for the profits that it makes for the weapons industry."

The report, issued by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and two other senators, recommended background checks for sales at gun shows, a ban on the import of nonsporting weapons and the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in force in the United States until 2004.

Calderon endorsed calls for reinstating the ban on domestic sales of assault rifles, saying its expiration in 2004 may have played a roll in the increase of drug violence in Mexico.

"You can clearly see how the violence began to grow in 2005, and of course it has gone on an upward spiral in the last six years," Calderon said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Narco culture permeates Mexico, leaks across border

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  1. Tijuana, June 2009: Mexico's drug culture is defined by guns and money, to be sure, but it includes sex, movies, music and even a heavy dose of religion. It also extends across the border into the U.S.

    Since 2008, photojournalist Shaul Schwarz has been documenting that culture. Presented here are snapshots of that coverage, starting with what makes it all happen: cash. This stash was confiscated and the alleged courier, seen at center, was detained by Mexican soldiers.

    "Since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon's drug war in 2006, Mexican officials have held press conferences to show detained suspects," Schwarz notes. "At the same time the violence persists" -- with nearly 35,000 people killed through 2010. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Ciudad Juarez, August 2009: Three young men died in this shootout in the parking lot of a shopping mall. In the first half of that year, more than 1,000 drug war deaths were counted in Juarez alone. The city of 1.3 million has been the center of a drug turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Ciudad Juarez, August 2009: Residents of a neighborhood survey the site where a body was found, presumably another victim of drug turf clashes. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Mexico City, July 2009: Mexico's drug and gang culture has a strong religious streak. Thousands of devotees seen here attend a mass for Santa Muerte -- Saint Death -- a mythical figure condemned by the Catholic Church but embraced by many poor and criminal elements. This gathering is outside a shrine in Tepito, a gritty neighborhood famous for its street markets brimming with pirated and stolen merchandise.

    "Its violent and dangerous streets serve as a sort of mecca for Santa Muerte followers," Schwarz says. "Tepito is also home to the most popular Santa Muerte shrine, which sits outside a modest home. On the first day of every month, the shrine fills with followers who come bearing statuettes of the saint. Some pilgrims make their way from the subway on their knees; many smoke weed or cigars with their saints." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Mexico City, October 2009: Devotees of Saint Judas Thaddaeus inhale glue out of plastic bags to get high as they gather outside San Hipolito church during the annual pilgrimage honoring the saint.

    Judas Thaddaeus is the Catholic Church's patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes, but in Mexico he is also known as "the saint of both cops and robbers (and prostitutes), as well as one of the biggest spiritual figures for young people in Mexico City," Schwarz says. "He has become the generic patron saint of disreputable activities. His biggest – and most important shrine – is at Hipolito, one of the best preserved colonial churches." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Mexico City, October 2009: This shrine in the Colonia Doctores neighborhood pays homage to both Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde, reputedly a bandit killed by officials in 1909.

    Jesus Malverde is revered by many as a Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to the poor. Several dozen such shrines exist in this neighborhood and in Tepito, where the cults thrive. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Tijuana, June 2009: A shrine to Santa Muerte sits above a home in the notorious Colonia Libertad neighborhood. The shrine is walled in by the old border fence separating Tijuana from San Diego. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Tijuana, March 2009: A man peeks through a fence toward the U.S., studying Border Patrol movements before crossing. New fences are constantly being built to deter illegal immigrants and drug traffickers.

    In 2010, President Barack Obama ordered some 1,200 National Guard troops to the Southwest border and also signed a $600 million bill to fund 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, customs inspectors and law enforcement officials. But the U.S. has also had to pull the plug on a troubled $1 billion "virtual fence" project meant to better guard stretches of the border. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Tijuana, June 2009: Federal police pat down a stripper during the raid of a large dance club. Several nightclubs in the notorious downtown red-light district were raided that night. Other parts of the strip continued as normal, with foreigners approaching young prostitutes as families with small children walked by with little notice and mariachis played on. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Ciudad Juarez, December 2008: A woman's body lies on the autopsy table where it was discovered that she was raped and then murdered in what was made to look like a suicide.

    "Violence against women has also surged in correlation to the daily multiple uninvestigated and unpunished homicides," Schwarz says. "The coroner's office is open 24/7 and employs more than 100 doctors, technicians and investigative specialists, who cover Ciudad Juarez and northern Chihuahua state." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Tijuana, June 2009: The drug culture is often portrayed by Mexican cinema. Here director Antonio Herrera films a scene for "Vida Mafiosa" -- Mafia Life -- a low budget film glorifying the culture. "This is the only thing selling at the moment for me," Herrera said at the time as he worked to complete his seventh narco film. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Tijuana, November 2010: A scene from "El Baleado" -- The Shooting Victim -- shows young men being executed shortly after smuggling drugs in from a beach. The film was produced by Baja Films Productions, a family-owned company that almost went out of business until family member Oscar Lopez, a San Diego resident, convinced his father to make a narco film. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Tijuana, April 2010: Los Angeles gangsters hang out at the production of a narco film. One of the gang members (not pictured) was an extra in the film. "That was a good excuse for them to come down to TJ and party where the drugs and women are cheap," Schwarz says. "It's common for gangsters/narcos to want to appear in these films." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Mexico City, October 2009: Devotees of Saint Judas Thaddaeus gather outside San Hipolito church. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Tijuana, June 2009: Young Mexicans in the Colonia Libertad neighborhood smoke pot and hang out at a spot overlooking the border with the U.S. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Burbank, Calif., April 2010: Alfredo Rios, better known by his stage name "El Komander", walks down a street just outside the studio of his agent and music producer. From Sinaloa, El Komander is one of the hottest singers/composers of "Narcocorrido" songs, which glorify the drug culture.

    "He regularly performs at private parties for Sinaloa's cartel members as well as composes songs for/about them, at times even commissioned by the drug lords," Schwarz says. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Tijuana, April 2010: Narcocorrido performer "The Scorpion" (whose real name is Amador Granados) shows off his belt while on the set of a Baja Films Productions movie that translated into English means: Seagulls Don't Fly Alone. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Culiacan, March 2009: A man and his two sons visit Culiacan's main Jesus Malverde shrine, located across from a McDonald's and near the state legislature.

    "The narco culture is becoming more and more mainstream and the shrine draws people of all walks of life," Schwarz says. "Many visitors leave Polaroid photos with pithy notes giving thanks to Malverde."

    "The image of his mustachioed face, bedecked with a neckerchief, a gold chain with a pistol charm around his neck, and a large belt-buckle with a pistol around his waist can now be found all over the U.S.," Schwarz adds. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. El Monte, Calif., April 2010: The Bukanas De Culiacan band gets ready to perform during the launch event of "Movimiento Alterado," a new form of Narcocorrido gaining popularity. "Narco music clubs are mushrooming all over L.A., and up and down the West Coast," Schwarz says.
    "It's a social movement of people who came from nothing and dream of a chance out," said Joel Vazquez, the band's manager. "It's a lot like hip hop or gangsta rap, except it's Mexican culture, not black." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Pico Rivera, Calif., April 2010: Partyers use the bathroom at El Rodeo Night Club, one of the many big Narcocorrido clubs in the Los Angeles area. "The cross-over music scene and culture is generating hybrid fashion trends and lifestyle ties between the Sinaloa mainstream, in Mexico and the Mexican-American mainstream culture in L.A.," Schwarz says. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Ciudad Juarez, August 2009: Police protect a crime scene where two bodies were found in the desert near the border with the U.S. Much of Mexico's drug violence is due to turf wars for control of the border routes. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Culiacan, July 2009: The Jardines del Humaya Cemetery hosts many grave sites dedicated to drug traffickers. Some are two- and three-stories tall; many have bulletproof glass, Italian marble and spiral iron staircases.

    "Inside the mausoleums are pictures of the deceased, often men in their 20s and 30s, and signs of Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde," says Schwarz. "And, as in many of the cemeteries found in the drug-war inflicted Mexico, rows of freshly dug graves await their new tenants." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Apatzingan, April 2010: This home hadn't been touched in the two years after it was shot at and burned down by soldiers in a deadly attack on members of the La Familia drug cartel. Many of its leaders were born in this town, and in December 2010 one of its founders was killed by soldiers there. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. The religion

    Culiacan, July 2009: A young man makes his way to the shrine of Jesus Malverde. Culiacan is the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, long a hot bed of drug cultivation. For decades traffickers have worshipped at the shrine, helping to spread Malverde's fame. "Followers call Malverde the Robin Hood of Mexico," Schwarz says. "Critics say he has become a symbol of crime. Drug traffickers claim him as their own." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Tultitlan, November 2009: Santa Muerte devotees attend a service in the courtyard of a church with a 65-foot-tall statue of the mythical figure. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Angeles National Forest, Calif., August 2009: Santa Muerte worshipers gather in a creek just outside Los Angeles. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Ciudad Juarez, August 2009: This bridge to El Paso, Texas, is one of the legal border crossings into the U.S. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Tijuana, March 2009: Mexico's military shows off the results of a raid on a party: assault weapons and the arrests of 58 people. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Culiacan, July 2009: A new inmate kisses his wife goodbye as their daughter cries.

    The Culiacan prison is notorious for violence and riots. "Security forces most often stay outside just along the perimeter of the prison and do not go in to the living quarters themselves," Schwarz says. "Weed, other drugs and cell phones along with statues of saints are common inside this typical Mexican jail." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Tijuana, March 2009: A drug addict sits in a tent where he lives along the border canal with the U.S. "The border canal has become a regular spot for junkies to use heroin," Schwarz says. "While the Mexican police do nothing, the U.S Border Patrol are just out of jurisdiction." (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Mexico City, October 2009: Jose Garcia Pichardo prays and smokes a cigar at the Santa Muerte altar in his bedroom. Pichardo said he once was a drug dealer and that two years earlier the Santa saved him from the police. (Shaul Schwarz / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Ciudad Juarez, August 2009: Women spread flour to soak up blood where a young man was murdered. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the border city that year, and another 3,000 in 2010.

    "As a photojournalist I have covered conflicts and wars since 1996, but Mexico’s present situation haunts me like no other," Schwarz says. "While death statistics have been documented ad nauseum, far less has been said about the broader social reality created by the drug trade. As I continue to cover this story that seems to have no end in sight, I plan to focus not only on the harsh existence in border towns, but on the culture created for millions of Mexicans and Americans inevitably involved in or affected by the drug trade and a desire for “narco luxury.” (Shaul Schwarz/ Reportage By Gett / Reportage by Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: Man recounts terrifying kidnapping ordeal

  1. Closed captioning of: Man recounts terrifying kidnapping ordeal

    >>> back now at 8:44 with a family 's ter identifying ordeal. jane and eduardo were ambushed by kidnappers. jane escaped but her husband was held captive for seven months enduring beatings, starvation and even being shot. we'll talk to them in a moment. first, their story.

    >> reporter: for jane and eduardo , life was in a word, perfect. they had three happy children, a happy marriage and lived on a beautiful ranch. but one morning in june, 2007 after droppinging the kids off at school their lives were turned upside down.

    >> two men come flying out of the suv in front of us. the first one comes at eduardo with a hammer in one hand and a handgun in the other. another man comes at me and he has a police club and another handgun.

    >> reporter: eventually jane was left in the car by herself and managed to escape. eduardo was taken in another car and kept in a box not much bigger than himself. for more than seven months as his captors tried to negotiate ransom with jane , eduardo said he was beaten, tortured, starved and shot. when his ordeal was over, eduardo was unrecognizable to his wife and to himself.

    >> i couldn't believe i looked like pure bones and skin. it was too much.

    >> reporter: they fled mexico and established a new life in the united states . jane writes about the ordeal in the book "we have your

    husband: one woman's story of a kidnapping in mexico ." fwrorm to you both.

    >> good morning.

    >> reporter: this happened in 2007 . does time heal even this wound, eduardo ?

    >> yes, of course. after something so bad happens to you, we are turning it into something very good. we tried to speak out and tried to bring more justice into mexico because there are thousands of people suffering as we speak. the government really isn't doing enough. we need more collaboration from the united states government to help.

    >> in general, but also in your case in particular because theyle still haven't found the people who kidnapped you.

    >> that's amazing.

    >> unbelievable to me. there have been dozens of families hit by this particular cell of kidnappers alone and they have raised a couple hundred million for their cause. this is a revolutionary army with international links including the middle east which is frightening to me. this is not just about a handful of kidnappings. it's a plague of kidnappings going on for decades and the group has gotten stronger and is starting to establish an international network .

    >> what's the solution? what do you think is the most important thing that should be done to stop it?

    >> the united states has to start taking a more serious and active role in situations like this. we are not talking about the cartel wars, organized crime in that way that's on headlines around the world every day. this is a revolutionary army that is significant, that does represent a threat to both mexican national security and other countries including the united states . so i think that our authorities here have to start playing a more active role in the investigative efforts because mexicans aren't doing anything.

    >> you wrote about when you saw him afterwards. he was dishevelled, gaunt, draped in loose, dark clothing and looked like he might be a beggar. it was at least five seconds before i recognized him. the realization nearly knocked me to the floor. i thought, oh, my god, it's him.

    >> i couldn't believe it. i couldn't believe looking at him and realizing, oh, my god, this is my husband. just to see what happened to the man that i love at the hands of people. i couldn't imagine how a human could do this to another human. the cruelty was unbelievable. that was the impression my children got, too. my then 12-year-old said, how could anybody be this cruel?

    >> have you answered the question, eduardo ?

    >> you know, this group is still active and is doing more harm to other people. that's the main thing. we have to stop them.

    >> have you figured out how a person can be this cruel as they were to you?

    >> i think they are sick people. they have an ideology to justify. i don't know. they are trying to play robin hood .

    >> but they don't help anyone.

    >> you don't torture people trying to be a good guy. i know you have moved out of mexico because you decided it wasn't safe for your family anymore.

    >> right.

    >> some people in this circumstance may want to keep a low profile , may not want to write a beautifully written book from your point of view, giving people a sense of what the experience is like. why do you decide to go public in this way?

    >> i couldn't help but thinking so many times going through the ordeal, what would have happened? maybe we wouldn't have been put in the situation had someone before me spoken out and said, okay, enough is enough, and drawn the line. that never happened. nobody speaks out in mexico . there is almost a pact of silence. when it's happening you don't speak out in the media because you want to protect the victim. i understand that. once it is over there is no real investigation and nobody says, wait, something's not right. where is the investigative effort? every time you negotiate and pay you are essentially investing in the criminals doing this. you make them stronger. at this point we are in a situation in mexico where the criminals have the authorities outgunned, outtrained and outfunded. so they are losing the war, they are. in in real terms . it was important to write the book, to tell the story from my perspective in a big way and hopefully to inspire others to do the same.

    >> i think you did.

    >> thank you.

    >> you are a picture of courage.

    >> in the end we are lucky to be a family again. that's the most important thing.

    >> also what she's saying is nobody really wants to help in real terms and come out and do something directly to stop the madness.

    >> hopefully now with your positioning they might eduardo . thank you.

    >> thank you for having us.

    >> the book is called "we have your husband." we are back in a moment. first, this is "today" on nbc.

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