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The Justice Department apprehended five individuals across Texas for their involvement in purchasing firearms illicitly and facilitating their transfer to drug cartels in Mexico. This operation, as reported by The Texas Tribune, was announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

At the heart of the operation was Gerardo Rafael Perez Jr. from Laredo, who, according to a superseding indictment filed this month, orchestrated the acquisition of over 100 firearms with the aim of smuggling them into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Alongside Perez, Francisco Alejandro Benavides, Mark Anthony Trevino Jr., Luis Matias Leal, and Antonio Osiel Casarez were arrested, highlighting a coordinated effort to support criminal enterprises across the border.

The DOJ said the crackdown underscores the recent legislative measures taken to combat such activities, notably through the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The act outlined criminal offenses for “straw purchasing” — the act of buying firearms on behalf of individuals prohibited from owning them or who wishing to avoid direct association with the purchase — and for smuggling firearms across the U.S.-Mexico border. Both of those activities however, were already illegal prior to the act.

The indictment sheds light on the sophistication and scale of this operation. It mentions seven co-defendants alongside Perez, involved in the procurement and smuggling of so-called “military-grade” weaponry, including high-powered rifles and armaments typically associated with cartel violence and power struggles. These firearms, such as the FNH SCAR rifles and Barrett .50 caliber rifles, are prized by Mexican drug cartels for their firepower and status symbol, enhancing their capacity for violence and territorial control.

Jose Emigdio Q. Mendoza is specifically accused of selling arms to Perez and his circle without a license, receiving about $170,000 from December 2022 to March 2023 for weapons sourced from federally licensed sellers. The indictment also accuses Mendoza of tampering with firearm transaction records.

Also named in the indictment are Gerardo Antonio Ibarra Jr. and Gerardo Corona Jr., who were involved in earlier phases of the investigation. They reportedly purchased rifles under false pretenses, claiming to be the legitimate buyers when the weapons were actually intended for Mexico.

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  1. The cartels rake in 10s of billions of dollars annually. I don’t know why they don’t just build their own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in some off-the-beaten-path country in Africa and then just ship their freshly manufactured firearms over to themselves in Mexico.

  2. “Band of Texas smugglers” — Gerardo Rafael Perez Jr., Francisco Alejandro Benavides, Mark Anthony Trevino Jr., Luis Matias Leal, and Antonio Osiel Casarez.

    Yes I’m from Texas and I know there are plenty of people with Spanish surnames in Texas, but it sue seems interesting considering there are plenty of Texans with Czech, English, or German surnames who somehow don’t seem to be involved with these cartels.

  3. “… over 100 firearms …”

    A spit in the bucket. I think it far more likely the cartels are getting firearms from the Mexican military and police. And what about ammunition?? I just don’t believe this straw purchaser BS.

    • That’s racist! The border has to stay open. How else are we going to keep our labor costs down? That cheap meat isn’t going to slaughter itself.

      -Current Democrat reasoning.

  4. But just for reference … these guys didn’t do anything the ATF didn’t do in their violation of the law in ‘operation’ “Fast and Furious”

    • Likely STILL doing that🙄We gotta band of non-english speaking Buenos who moved next door. They seem “ok” but we don’t know what they’re up to. I just hope my arsenal’s better than them🙄☹️

      • if you see cazadores or el jimador, you’re good. it’ll just be loud and the dog won’t shut up.
        if you see el presidente brandy watch out.
        also, barbacoa: chiva or borrego?

    • .40 – yep – last number I heard was that F&F trafficked at least 1400 guns (that the bats will admit to) and that was with the full knowledge and complicity of high gummint officials.

      It is just too bad that a small group saw a money making opportunity (if they really did make enough) – or did they get co-opted by ‘undercover’ types? We will likely never know……………..

    • Vaquero’s with Lime Green boots two sizes to big and sombreros with lots of roses and dingle bobbers on it.
      On day lay Mutaco

  5. Perhaps if the Mexican Government did something to stem the flow of weed, meth, coke, fentanyl and other drugs from everywhere else in the world into the US via their country these purchases would be far less viable.

  6. “They reportedly purchased rifles under false pretenses, claiming to be the legitimate buyers“

    So this is seemingly the same crime committed by the airport Director in Arkansas…

    • Well he jumped in bed with his Ma and Pa
      And told them that the Devil was in Arkansas
      And he’d quit selling gunms and raising hell.
      Ohhh-O Ohhh-O, Uncle Miner, Uncle Miner, he’s still alive.

    • so the ATF reveals AFTER they sent in an ATF hit squad to essentially murder the guy.

      But there is one fact that you ignore Miner49er – the airport Director in Arkansas, no arrest or arrest warrant, he was never actually charged with any crime the ATF claims, there was no court trial and no jury, no guilty verdict – the airport Director in Arkansas is innocent of that the ATF claims.

      But far be it for me to interrupt your little metaphorical dancing in the blood of the innocent with your BS.

  7. With Billions of $$$ why don’t the cartels just buy military grade automatic weapons, RPG’s and mortars from China, North Korea or Iran? Those countries already supply terrorist organizations world wide and they love USA CASH. Maybe they are already sourcing weapons form them and we ONLY hear about the USA made civilian guns which are seized by the Mexican police for political reasons.

    • It’s this. We only trace the guns Mexico asks us to trace, and they only ask us to trace guns they think came from the USA, so they can score political concessions.

      • DN – “political concessions” AND attempts to bribe the US (2 billion for the latest effort) into getting them to ‘cooperate’ with crackdowns on people smuggling.


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