Border Patrol in California Seizes 25 AK-Style Rifles Destined for Mexican Cartel

Yuma Sector Weapons Cache Seizure (Riverside County Sheriff's Office)
Riverside County Sheriff's Office

Border Patrol agents in Blythe, California, arrested a California man and his 17-year-old brother after a service K-9 alerted the agents to the presence of a large cache of semi-automatic rifles in their vehicle. In total, agents seized 25 AK-style rifles, two handguns, and ammunition magazines on Wednesday in Blythe, California. Jose Palma Almendariz and his teenage brother now face federal charges related to Wednesday’s firearms and magazine seizure.

Both suspects were turned over to local authorities as the case continues to be investigated. Yuma Sector Chief Sean Patrol agent Sean McGoffin commented on the seizure saying, “Transnational Criminal Organizations traffic weapons to fuel their illicit activity on both sides of the border. This weapons seizure clearly demonstrates the importance of our Border Security mission and commitment of keeping our communities safe.”

According to the Border Patrol, the seizure is believed to be the largest in recent Yuma Sector history.

Law enforcement officers assigned to the Coachella Valley Violent Crime Gang Task Force (CVVCGTF) responded to the U.S. Border Patrol Blythe Station to assist with the weapons seizure and investigation. Based on initial interviews with both suspects, authorities believe the weapons were originally picked up by the pair in Phoenix, Arizona, and were ultimately destined for Mexico. The weapons were found in the cargo compartment of a Honda CRV crossover.

Blythe sits 100 miles north of the Mexican state of Sonora. As reported by Breitbart Texas, clandestine gravesites in the state were recently discovered — evidence of violent clashes between Mexican cartel members. Splinter groups within the Sinaloa Cartel that controls the state have been engaged in internal battles and are largely responsible for the most recent skirmishes in Sonora. The Sinaloa Cartel is also at odds with its rival Juarez Cartel to the east. The weapons seized Wednesday may have been destined for this region of the U.S./Mexico border.

The elder of the two brothers, Jose Palma Almendariz, is currently being held in the Blythe jail as the investigation continues. Palma’s juvenile brother was released to his parents and remains free as the case progresses.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.


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