Arms Trafficking

Police in Allahabad, India report that in over 85 percent of serious crimes in the city is committed by criminals using an illegal and unlicensed weapon.

Illegal weapons such as the Kattas, a locally produced gun, outnumber legal weapons in the city by a ratio of 12 to 1.

Between 2009 to 2012, security officials have seized over 1,200 illegally owned kattas in the city.

Source:  Kapil Dixit, “Illegal arms smuggling continues to thrive in district,” Times of India, April 2, 2013.

According to a study released by the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, around 250,000 guns were purchased in the United States and smuggled into Mexico each year between 2010 to 2012. Security officials on both sides of the border seized 14 percent of the guns smuggled into Mexico.

The study estimates that up to 47 percent of U.S. guns stores rely upon some demand from Mexico in order to stay in business.

Source:  Adrian Florido, “Study Aims For Fuller Picture of Cross-Border Arms Trafficking,” Fronteras, March 18, 2013.

Security analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of North Korea’s total trade levels could be made up from illicit revenue. Intelligence reports state that government agencies in North Korea actively participates in criminal rackets such as counterfeiting, production and sales of methamphetamine, and the illegal exporting of missile sales.

Source: Parameswaran Ponnudurai, “Global Bid to Cripple North Korea’s Illicit Trade,” Radio Free Asia, March 5, 2013.


According to the Small Arms Survey, there are around 650 million weapons around the world that are in the hands of civilians.

225 million guns and firearms are in the hands of military, police and other government officials.

(Price of AK-47 on the global black market.)

Source:  Louis Charbonneau, “National Rifle Association vows to fight arms trade treaty at U.N,” Reuters, December 28, 2012.

Between 1998 and 2012, the North Korea Government is estimated to have spent between $2.8 Billion and $3.2 Billion on its missile program. The amount of money spent on the missile program would have been able to feed the entire country with corn for 3 years.

Source:  Jane Perlez, “Despite Risks, China Stays at North Korea’s Side to Keep the U.S. at Bay,” New York Times, December 13, 2012.

There are 1.6 million illegal firearms that are circulating in the Caribbean region, according to the Association of Caribbean Police Chiefs.

Source:  “US to provide $3.4 million to tackle arms trafficking in Caribbean region,” Bahamas Island Info, December 5, 2012.

At the end of 2012, the reported price of an AK-47 on the black market in Afghanistan was $1,500. Three years prior, the reported price was between $600 to $700 in the country. The price for grenade launchers, pistols and PK machine guns have also risen in 2012.

The rise in prices for weapons is caused by increased demand for firearms in anticipation of international forces leaving Afghanistan.

(See more AK-47 prices on the black market.)

Source:  Heath Druzin, “Fearing post-2014 environment, Afghans buy up weapons,” Stars and Stripes, December 5, 2012.

Between 2010 and November 2012, lawyers with the United States Department of Justice filed 8 cases against individuals and companies who were illegally trading with Iran. Prosecutors also report that more cases are being investigated but have remained sealed from the public due to its ongoing investigation.

The individual traders and companies have been based in Hong Kong and China and are illegally transporting materials in violation of international trade sanctions placed on Iran. According to the Department of Justice, materials sent to Iran include missile guidance systems, radio jammers, and materials that can be used in a nuclear weapons program.

Source:  Ken Dilanian, “Illegal exports to Iran on the rise, say U.S. officials,” Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2012.

In 2011, there were 5.3 murders per 100,000 from firearms in Thailand. In comparison, there were 0.2 murders per 100,000 by firearms in the Philippines.

People in Thailand can purchase a gun on the black market for $2,600.

(See prices of AK-47 on the black market.)

People under the age of 20 in Thailand are unable to own a gun in the country. However, between 2003 and 2012, the number of young people caught carrying firearms in the country increased by 32 percent.

Source:  Amy Sawitta Lefevre, “Friendly Thailand stares down the barrel of rising gun crime,” Reuters, October 21, 2012.

Firearms that are purchased in the United States are sold on the streets of Sydney, Australia for $15,493 (15,000 Australian Dollars).

Police in Australia believe that there are 10,000 handguns and about 250,0000 long arms circulating in Australia’s black market.

(See More Black Market AK-47 Prices)

Source:  AAP, “Gun smuggling linked to criminal gangs,” Australian, October 19, 2012.