This is according to law enforcement officials who spoke with Russian state-owned news agency TASS, which reported that these weapons are being discovered in Mexico and the Middle East.
"The weapons that are being provided to the Armed Forces of Ukraine have already been found in the possession of Mexican cartels and Hamas," said the unnamed official, who added that mistrust between Washington and Kyiv has been rising steadily since reports of such wayward weapons began appearing. "Western countries have now increased anti-corruption controls related to weapons supplies."
It is estimated that up to half a million weapons are smuggled every year from the U.S. to Mexico. This number continues to increase despite strict regulations, leading to spikes in gun-related violence.
Without necessarily admitting that weapons bound for Kyiv are in Mexico, the Mexican government has begun demanding that American officials urgently launch an investigation into why drug cartels in the country have acquired U.S. military-grade weapons.
"The Sedena [Mexican Secretariat of National Defense] has warned the United States about weapons entering Mexico that are for the exclusive use of the U.S. Armed Forces," said Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Barcena. "It is very urgent that an investigation into this be carried out." (Related: Mexican Defense Department seeks probe on how cartels acquired high-grade U.S. weapons.)
The Mexican Armed Forces has been finding high-grade weapons such as belt-fed machine guns, rocket launchers and grenades – none of which are sold for civilian use in the United States.
Last June, the Mexican Army reported that it had seized 221 fully automatic machine guns, 56 grenade launchers and a dozen rocket launchers from drug cartels since late 2018. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel was found in possession of five rocket launchers, while the rival Sinaloa Cartel had four.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar confirmed that Mexican officials had brought up the issue to him during recent meetings and has pledged that the U.S. will be working with Mexico to resolve it.
"We are going to look into it, we are committed to working with Sedena to see what's going on," said Salazar. He has confirmed that around 70 percent of the weapons "that cause violence here in Mexico come from the United States."
Mexico has long had a problem with firearms in the U.S. legal for civilian purchase, such as higher caliber semi-automatic rifles, being smuggled into Mexico, where civilians are only allowed to own low-caliber firearms, the sale and ownership of which are strictly regulated.
These are not necessarily the problem, but the appearance of more powerful firearms in the hands of cartels has made them outclass most branches of Mexican law enforcement, including those who are usually the first to respond to outbursts of cartel violence.
Watch this clip from Fox Business featuring an interview with Rep. James Comer (R-KY) discussing how he is "very concerned" about the possibility of U.S. taxpayer dollars being abused under the guise of providing more military assistance to Ukraine.