At least four U.S. Army soldiers worked with Mexico’s Gulf Cartel to supply them with more than 40 assault rifles.
This week, U.S. Army Sergeant Julian Presas stood before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio, who sentenced him to 16 years and 8 months in federal prison, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed. The case was investigated jointly by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.
The sentence comes after Presas pleaded guilty to six federal weapons charges in December. According to prosecutors, Presas recruited three other soldiers to help him purchase more than 40 assault rifles that he then delivered to Gulf Cartel members for smuggling into Mexico.
“Stopping the flow of weapons illegally exported into Mexico is a top priority for HSI,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio. “These weapons often contribute to fueling the violence committed by drug cartels, which drastically affects communities both in Mexico and in the United States.
Earlier this year, 33-year-old Thomas John Zamudio, 47-year-old Ricardo Esparza Salazar, and 32-year-old Christopher Brown all pleaded guilty to straw purchasing charges and received a probation term of two years.
“It is deeply troubling that a member of the United States military flagrantly violated federal firearms laws, and engaged three other servicemen in a straw purchasing scheme,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski. “This defendant was keenly aware that the firearms were destined for the Gulf Cartel in Mexico. While this may be rare, the sentencing sends a clear message that no one is exempt from obeying the law.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.