Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Nov 24 (EFE).- An arms-for-cash exchange began on Wednesday in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez with the aim of removing weapons that could be used to generate violence or commit crime.
The program, which will run till Dec. 21, is promoted by the municipal government, the Trust for Competitiveness and Citizen Security, the Secretariat of National Defense and the National Chamber of Commerce (Canaco).
“They are weapons that can be used as (an) object of crime or object (to cause an) accident. Safety is a condition that we all must contribute to, not only the authorities. That is why they are invited to participate,” the commander of the military garrison in Juárez, Francisco Antonio Enríquez Rojas, told Efe.
Rogelio Ramos, president of Canaco added that it is “a preventive program that avoids the loss … of lives in the city.”
He added that it is important to invest in disarmament to reinforce security and “contribute with our grain of sand to avoid crimes and the image of insecurity” of the city.
Items such as cartridges, ammunition, machine guns, submachine guns, automatic rifles, shotguns, revolvers and explosives such as grenades can all be exchanged.
The military will destroy them in front of the person who dropped them off, and the entire procedure will be carried out without question.
If people feel unsafe transporting the weapons, they can call 911, and request the support of the Municipal Public Security Secretariat or the National Guard, who will take it to the exchange point.
Guillermo Asían, coordinator of the Security and Justice Board, assured that the arms-for-cash program aims to “create awareness and promote the disarmament of the different groups.”
“(This has) an important effect on the community that is violent. The fact that (the weapons) are not in the street is valuable. It is important that they do not get involved in arms trafficking since the consequences are strong,” he added.
He added that in Ciudad Juárez, 1,240 homicides have been recorded so far this year in an area of great violence, combining the crimes of arms smuggling and drug trafficking. EFE