Let’s take this one step at a time. First, the facts as we kinda sorta maybe know them, via Houston’s chron.com: “If a 21-year-old Texan is telling the truth, he was forced to try to smuggle a machine gun into Mexico to protect his family from being harmed by gangsters. Julio Cesar Ramirez was caught in the border city of Pharr as he attempted to drive a Hummer sport-utility vehicle across a bridge over the Rio Grande, according to papers posted Tuesday in federal court. On the back seat was a gun case with the .30-caliber weapon, one of the more powerful guns caught being smuggled into Mexico. He was arrested for alleged weapons trafficking.” A thirty cal belt-fed machine gun? Where the hell did THAT come from?
“Ramirez immediately claimed that he had been threatened by unidentified, armed individuals,” according to an affidavit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Gustavo Gonzalez. “These individuals threatened harm to Ramirez and his family if he did not fully comply with their instructions.”
Just for S&Gs, let’s take Mr. Ramirez’s story at face value. What does that tell you about the reach of Mexican drug cartels into America? Nothing good. But it also tells me that there’s something else going on in Houston re: gun smuggling that’s deeply suspicious.
I haven’t forgotten the fact that the city’s home to Carter’s Country gun store, the dealer who blew the lid off of the ATF’s practice of allowing straw purchases to go through. It’s also the town where the cops chased criminals who dumped fake ATF uniforms. So, are the bad guys dressing up like local ATF agents and convincing Mexican Americans to smuggle guns, just like the “real” ATF?
I know that’s way out there. But I’ve been a reporter for nearly forty years, and a RI resident for just over fifty. There’s a big can of worms marked “Gunwalker” somewhere on our southern border. My kingdom for a can opener.