MCALLEN, Texas — An undercover sting by federal agents and an informant revealed a bustling market for grenades and explosive devices in this Texas border city.
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives arrested Albert Joseph Ortiz and Cesar Geovanni Flores earlier this week on the charge of possession of a destructive device. They allegedly tried to sell 10 grenades to a government informant, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.
The case began on May 21, when a government informant went to a house on the south side of McAllen to meet with a man named Javier Solis, in regards to the purchase of a grenade. Moments later Albert Joseph Ortiz arrived at the house with a grenade, intended to serve as a sample of sorts.
ATF agents had the McAllen Police Bomb Squad examine the grenade, and after doing a test burn with the material inside, they determined that it was in fact a live explosive. The agents directed the informant go back to Solis and purchase 9 more grenades.
On May 27, the same source called Solis about buying five more grenades, but Solis said he would not be available to deliver the merchandise, so he had his associate Flores deliver the grenades for him.
On May 28, another informant met with Ortiz, who spoke about selling 10 grenades the previous week, and said he had several more in case the informant wanted to buy some. After a few phone calls, Ortiz told the informant that he had a total of 28 grenades available.
On Monday the second informant spoke with Ortiz over the phone about buying a grenade from him. ATF agents arrested him later that day. Court records do not indicate whether Solis was arrested and charged as well, or if he had been part of the undercover sting operation.
Just across the Rio Grande, the Gulf Cartel has been undergoing a fierce internal struggle pitting two separate factions against each other. The fighting has set off large-scale gun battles and, as Breitbart Texas previously reported, a series of grenade attacks in the Mexican border city of Matamoros just last week.
Just last year, deputies with the Starr County Sheriff’s Office found four grenades and high-caliber rifles in a house where three Honduran men were murdered, as Breitbart Texas previously reported,
In 2009, The Monitor from McAllen reported on a man from the border city of San Juan who manufactured close to 200 grenades for Mexican drug cartels.