Two Southern Arizona teenagers will every serve not less than a yr in jail for trying to smuggle 4 AK-47-style rifles strapped to their torsos via the Dennis DeConcini border crossing in Nogales, Ariz. final summer time.
Manuel De Jesus Guzman, 19, a resident of Rio Rico, Ariz., was sentenced to 18 months in jail in mid-June by U.S. District Court docket Decide James A. Soto in Tucson.
Weeks later, on July 26, Soto sentenced Guzman’s companion — 19-year-old Joshua Francisco Mendez from Tucson — to 12 months and sooner or later. Each males will probably be on probation for 3 years, Soto dominated.
Guzman and Mendez every pleaded responsible to smuggling items from the USA as a part of an settlement signed in April, in accordance with court docket information. The firearms Guzman and Mendez meant to take throughout the border
are “prohibited from being exported from the USA into Mexico
with out a legitimate license,” federal officers wrote, including neither Guzman nor Mendez had the lawful authority to export the firearms into Mexico.
Tucson Sentinel reported on their arrest final June primarily based on a press release from U.S. Customs and Border Safety.
On the morning of June 7, 2022 the 2 males — each 18 on the time — walked via the
DeConcini port heading to Mexico, however have been stopped by members of the
Nogales Contraband Enforcement Staff, mentioned Hugo Nunez, a CBP spokesman in
a press release final yr.
CBP officers discovered the boys have been carrying
two Romarm WASR-10 rifles, a Century Arms VSKA rifle, and one Century
Arms BFT rifle. All 4 rifles are patterned on the Russian AK-47 rifle
in style amongst cartels working all through Mexico, and often called the “cuerno de chivo” or goat horn for its distinctive curved journal.
CBP launched pictures of their try, which reveals one man carrying three AK-47-style rifles taped round his abdomen, with the barrels in his denims. Together with the hidden three rifles, the person additionally had a toy AK-47 clipped to a belt loop. The second man had a single AK-47 strapped to his abdomen with tape.
Michael Humphries, the director of the Nogales port, introduced the seizure on Twitter, and praised his officers.
“Glorious job,” he wrote, “in your vigilance and defending either side of the border.”
Officers with CBP’s Workplace of Area Operations, the company accountable for the nation’s ports of entry, together with border crossings and airports, commonly discover weapons and ammunition throughout outgoing inspections.This contains not solely pistols and AK-47-style rifles, but in addition weapons like a .30-caliber machine gun together with a tripod and greater than 20,000 rounds of ammunition intercepted final summer time.
Mexican authorities sues over straw purchases
In August 2021, the Mexican authorities filed a lawsuit in federal court docket towards U.S. gun producers, as effectively a Boston-area wholesaler, arguing that the businesses are answerable for a “lethal flood” of weapons that invariably “wreak havoc in Mexican society.”
Weapons made by U.S. corporations transfer via “operación hormiga,” or an “ant operation,” in accordance with the lawsuit, which complained individuals buy small numbers of firearms via straw purchases in gun retailer — together with shops in Tucson and Phoenix — and smuggle the weapons into Mexico.
Within the grievance, Mexican officers mentioned gun makers earn almost $170 million in annual gross sales by illegally promoting their weapons to deprave sellers within the U.S. Additional, the Mexican authorities argued Colt Manufacturing tailors three .38 caliber pistols for the Mexican market, together with the “Emiliano Zapata 1911” which incorporates the phrase “It’s higher to die standing than stay in your knees” typically attributed to the eponymous Mexican revolutionary.
Because the Mexican authorities famous, a Colt .38-caliber pistol was used to homicide the well-known investigative journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea in 2017.
A federal court docket rejected the lawsuit, nonetheless Mexican officers appealed.
In the meantime, backed by Tucson legislation agency, Mexican officers launched a second lawsuit targeted on Arizona gun sellers in October 2022.
Within the swimsuit, attorneys from the agency DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy argued Diamondback Taking pictures Sports activities, SnG Tactical, Ammo AZ, Sprague’s Sports activities, and The Hub all “systematically take part in trafficking military-style weapons and ammunition to drug cartels in Mexico by supplying gun traffickers.”
“Defendants know or ought to know that their reckless and illegal enterprise practices – together with straw gross sales, and bulk and repeat gross sales of military-style weapons – provide harmful criminals in Mexico and the U.S.,” the legislation agency argued.
Legal professionals representing the gun shops pushed the court docket to dismiss the case and a listening to is scheduled for later this month.
Federal officers didn’t define the place Guzman or Mendez bought their firearms, and a few court docket paperwork — together with a full indictment filed towards the boys — stay sealed.
Particular brokers with Homeland Safety Investigations, part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, together with officers from ICE’s guardian company the Division of Homeland Safety, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Bolling and Micah Schmit, District of Arizona, Tucson, dealt with the prosecution.