El Paso Sector Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition headed to cartel members in Mexico. The seizure included 16 boxes of 7.62×39 rifle ammunition.
CBP officers assigned to the El Paso Port of Entry on Wednesday observed a 2007 Honda Accord approaching to leave the U.S. and enter Mexico. The officers randomly selected the vehicle for outbound inspection, according to information obtained from El Paso Sector CBP officials.
During the inspection, officers found 16 boxes of 7.62×39 ammunition. This type of ammunition is utilized by Mexican cartels in AK-47 rifles. The officers found the ammo under a blanked in the rear seat and on the floor of the car, officials stated. Each of the 16 boxes contained 520 rounds of ammunition.
Officers reported the woman to be a female traveling with a female companion. They did not report the nationality or citizenship of the two women involved in the attempted ammunition smuggling incident.
“Our primary focus is checking what is arriving, however, CBP also conducts outbound inspections to stop the illicit flow of money, weapons and ammunition going south,” Hector Mancha, CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations, said in a written statement.
The officers seized the ammunition and turned the case over to Homeland Security Investigations for possible charges against the alleged smugglers.
Entering Mexico with even a single round of ammunition if a serious violation of Mexican criminal law with a penalty of up to five years in prison.
In November 2019, CBP officers and a National Park Service ranger stopped a Mexican national attempting to smuggle more than 2,400 rounds of small-caliber ammunition into Mexico, officials reported.
The 47-year-old Mexican man was found with .22 and .25 ammunition as he attempted to cross the Boquillas Crossing into Mexico. Homeland Security Investigations took over the case after CBP officials seized the ammo and the alleged smuggler’s vehicle.