U.S. federal agents in El Paso, Texas, have arrested a Mexican national woman for allegedly buying close to 11,000 rounds of ammunition for Mexican drug cartels.
Earlier this week, Maria Del Rosario Antunez Gutierrez went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Castaneda who formally charged her with ammunition smuggling and ordered her held without bond. During her hearing, a Spanish-language interpreter was called to help translate the events in court.
Antunez’s arrest came after agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations received information about a group of individuals who had been buying massive amounts of ammunition at local sporting-goods stores, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.
Antunez is neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident. Records reveal that she only a has a border-crossing visa, thus making it illegal for her to purchase or possess any type of firearm or ammunition.
U.S. federal agents began to look into the information. By checking store records and store video surveillance they identified four individuals. The groups would arrive at the store in a blue hatchback car, go purchase between 500 and 2,000 ammunition rounds and leave.
Authorities then matched the group on the surveillance video with other video from bridge crossings that showed the same vehicle and individuals coming from and going into Mexico. The vehicles crossed into the border city of Juarez, an area in previous years synonymous with cartel violence.
As part of their investigation, HSI determined that from August 7 to October 5, Antunez illegally purchased 10,900 ammunition rounds in 12 separate trips. The cost of the ammunition purchased by Antunez totaled more than $4,800—she had purchased 7.62×39 (typically used in AK-47 rifles ) and 9mm (very popular handgun caliber).
Court records did not specify which Mexican cartel was the alleged recipient of the ammunition, however, in recent years Ciudad Juarez has been linked to fierce cartel gun battles over drug territories.