BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A group of over a dozen U.S. citizens are facing federal weapons charges for allegedly running a conspiracy throughout the southern Texas border to buy and smuggle weapons for the Gulf Cartel.
Young, good looking and wearing fashionable clothes, Ilse Alejandra Chazco and Antonio Rafael Ruvalcaba went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya earlier this week who formally notified them that a grand jury had charged the two with multiple gun smuggling charges and ordered they be held without bond.
The two are the most recent arrests made by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives targeting a straw purchasing conspiracy; so far the agency has arrested six members of the alleged conspiracy but other members remain at large.
Straw purchasing refers to the term where people from other countries or convicted felons who legally can’t own a weapon hire a U.S. citizen with a clean criminal records to go purchase the weapons for them.
The series of arrests began earlier this week following an indictment that was handed down under seal by a grand jury, meaning that the contents of the indictment or those named in it were not made public until the individuals were arrested.The arrests come after the ATF led operation Six Corners which targeted organized crime groups
According to the two indictments obtained by Breitbart Texas, the group began recruiting buyers and purchasing firearms in late 2009 acquiring dozens of semi-automatic rifles and handguns. The group had the buyers go to various sporting goods stores and pawn shops throughout South Texas to buy AR-15 rifles, AK-47 variants, and several handguns.
Despite having some of the strictest set of gun laws, Mexican drug cartels have found ways of getting automatic rifles, grenade launchers, rocket launchers and other pieces of artillery that rival those of the Mexican Army.
Along the Texas border, drug cartels have used straw purchasers to buy semi-automatic weapons and then smuggle them into Mexico to continue their fierce battles.
Just south of the Texas border, the Mexican state of Tamaulipas has been undergoing through a fierce war between drug cartels over territories. While Mexican officials continue to claim that the state is safe, Breitbart Texas has routinely reported on the regular gun battles south of the border and in the occasional cases of spillover violence where cartels carry out executions and kidnappings on U.S. soil.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter: @ildefonsoortiz