Federal law enforcement officials say a large weapons cache seized in the Texas border town of Laredo was likely heading to Mexico. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents and other law enforcement agencies teamed up to stop a large quantity of semi-automatic weapons, ammunition, and ballistic armor from being smuggled to Mexican drug cartels in Nuevo Laredo.
Special Agents with the Laredo HSI High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force joined forces earlier this month with other federal and local law enforcement agencies to seize 21 long arm rifles, 962 rounds of ammunition, magazines, belt fed magazines, ballistic plates, armor carriers, and ghillie suits, according to a statement provided to Breitbart Texas by ICE officials.
Earlier in June, members of the task force carried out a surveillance operation in downtown Laredo. While watching a parking lot, the agents witnessed a person transferring boxes from one vehicle to another, officials stated. Task force members approached the person loading the boxes and obtained permission to search the vehicle. During the search, the agents discovered the weapons and other items.
“Homeland Security Investigations will continue to leverage its expansive authorities to combat transnational criminal organizations”, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Adrian Flores, HSI Laredo said in a written statement. “HSI’s partnership with Federal, state, and local law enforcement in Laredo, Texas is crucial to ensuring public safety and national security in the U.S. and Mexico.”
Officials said they believe the weapons, ammunition, and body armor were headed to Mexico. The region across the Rio Grande River from Laredo is controlled by the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas.
Law enforcement officials seized the weapons cache but did not make any initial arrests in the case which remains under investigation.
The investigation is being conducted by HSI agents along with U.S. Border Patrol agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations, Webb County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Zapata County Sheriff’s Office deputies, and Laredo Police Department officers, ICE officials stated.
ICE officials said the purpose of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force is to identify, dismantle, and disrupt drug trafficking organizations and “their illicit activities which destabilize communities in the South Texas area and beyond.”
HSI agents seized nearly 6,000 weapons and more than 675,000 rounds of ammunition during Fiscal Year 2017 that ended on September 30, 2017.