Mexican Nationals Busted in South Texas Alleged Gun Smuggling Operation

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS-- A U.S. citizen and two Mexican nationals were arrested by federal authorities for attempting to purchase a .50 caliber rifle, three AK-47s and an AR-15.  Additionally, two fully automatic weapons were also being sought by the alleged smugglers.

Cassandra Camacho, a 24-year-old and Daniel Cantu, Jr., aged 21, both U.S. citizens and two Mexican nationals, 21-year-old Juan Ivan Rodriguez and 24-year-old Nestor Leal-Cedillo allegedly offered to pay an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) thousands of dollars for the weapons.  The four suspects were arrested on Wednesday and appeared in federal court Friday according to a report in the Brownsville Herald.  The federal magistrate ordered the suspects be held without bond pending a detention hearing.

The group allegedly met with the agent on Wednesday at an Academy Sports and Outdoors store in Edinburg with $17,000 cash. They were arrested after the money and rifles were exchanged.  A total of $24,000 was recovered at the scene.  Court documents revealed the seven weapons were allegedly to be smuggled into Mexico.

The two Americans were arrested at the scene while the two Mexican nationals fled on foot but were arrested shortly thereafter.  After their arrest, Camacho revealed to the agents the weapons were destined for Mexico and that she did not have a license to export the firearms. Cantu also allegedly admitted that he went to the scene to participate in a “gun deal” and that the weapons were headed to a “stash house” and would later be loaded into a tractor-trailer rig.  Additionally he admitted to knowing the guns were to be smuggled into Mexico.

Court documents state the conspiracy occurred from Feb. 27th to March 5th. The case is currently being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Border Patrol Enforcement Security Task Force and the ATF.

Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX


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