ATF: Man modified assault rifles for Mexican cartels

March 24, 2012 9:57 PM

Federal agents have arrested a man suspected of making fully automatic assault rifles to be sold to Mexican drug cartels.

An undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said he purchased three fully automatic AK-47 rifles and two military style ballistic vests for $4,900, a criminal complaint states.

The undercover agent learned Ramon Valdivia, 20, was suspected of converting the assault rifles from semi-automatic to fully automatic, the complaint states.

Fully automatic weapons typically are illegal for civilians to possess without a federal license.

The undercover agent said he met with Valdivia to order more fully automatic AK-47 rifles on March 15. Valdivia told the agent he expected to receive a G3 grenade launcher, as well as other assault rifles in the future.

The undercover agent asked Valdivia if the guns were “matracas” — Spanish slang for machine guns — and Valdivia said some were, the complaint states. The agent then purchased three more fully automatic AK-47 rifles from Valdivia, according to the complaint.

ATF agents arrested Valdivia on Wednesday.

Valdivia said he sold three AK-47s to the undercover agents and that he’d bought one of the guns from a seller on Craigslist, the complaint said. Valdivia told agents he ordered the parts for the other guns and assembled them himself, though court records do not state where he lives, according to the document.

Valdivia remains in custody pending a detention hearing set for Tuesday.

Man modified assault rifles for Mexican cartels | automatic, rifles, fully - ATF - Brownsville Herald