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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Feds charge 34 in gun buys for Mexico drug cartel

    Feds charge 34 in gun buys for Mexico drug cartel

    by Robert Anglen -
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:37 PM
    The Arizona Republic

    Federal authorities announced charges today against 34 Arizonans accused of buying about 700 guns in gun stores in the state on behalf of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel.

    The arrests and seizures are proof that Arizona has become an iron highway for guns headed south of the border, according to federal authorities, who say they don't know how many weapons are being smuggled into Mexico every day.

    Dozens of AK-47s, and .50 caliber rifles were among the semi-automatic weapons legally purchased in single-day transactions at Arizona gun stores by straw buyers paid by the cartel, said U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke.

    "This is a huge problem in this state. It is a strange phenomenon," Burke said at a press conference at a federal office in Phoenix, where guns similar to the types of those seized were laid out side by side on a table. "Drug cartels go shopping for their war weapons here in Arizona."

    At least 17 people were arrested Tuesday in five cases involving a joint crackdown by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service and the Phoenix Police Department.

    "Straw buyers have as much blood on their hands . . . as the ones who pull the trigger," said Bill Newell, special agent in charge of the Phoenix ATF.

    All of those indicted are U.S. citizens or legal residents.

    An example of case is that of defendant Joshua Moore, who bought six AK-47 type rifles from a gun store in Prescott in 2009, according to the indictments. Three days later, he bought two AK-47s from a gun store in Glendale. Seven days later, he bought 10 from the same Glendale store. Two days later, he bought five more. Less then a month later, he bought 20 from the same gun store. Three months later he bought 10 more from the same Glendale gun store.

    The purchases themselves are legal. Nothing in the law prohibits citizens from buying guns. But authorities say Moore lied on federal firearms applications by declaring that he was buying the guns for himself.

    Guns were traced back to buyers after they were seized by customs inspectors at border checkpoints or after being used in crimes in Mexico, authorities said.

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/ ... z1C5YsQgYd
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Gun Running Operation Uncovered in Arizona

    34 indicted in drug, firearms trafficking

    Updated: Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011, 12:13 PM MST
    Published : Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011, 12:02 PM MST

    PHOENIX - A multi-agency task force rounded up 20 people Tuesday morning. They're accused of buying dozens of AK-47s at a time and illegally sending them across the border.

    We're talking about 700 guns.

    AK-47s and semi-automatic rifles are considered the "weapon of choice" for Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

    34 suspects are accused illegally trafficking guns from the United States to Mexico.

    An indictment alleges the defendants conspired to purchase hundreds of guns, including AK-47s, to be illegally exported to Mexico.

    The defendants, none of whom are licensed firearms dealers, acted as "straw purchasers" by falsely declaring that they were buying the weapons for themselves.

    "For example, in these indictments, they were separate organizations recruiting with a goal of getting them down to Mexico," said Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney for Arizona.

    Under the law, there is no limit on how many long guns, like AK-47s, someone can buy and gun shops don't have to report who bought what.

    The Feds had to trace back guns involved in crimes in Mexico to make this case.

    While 17 arrests were made, three suspects are still on the loose.

    http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/lo ... z-01252011
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Grand jury indicts 20 in alleged gun smuggle ring

    Posted: 1:39 PM
    Last Updated: 12 minutes ago
    By: Associated Press

    PHOENIX - A grand jury has indicted 20 people on firearms charges for allegedly participating in a ring that bought more than 700 guns that were to be smuggled into Mexico for use by a drug cartel.

    Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, says the ring is believed to have supplied the Sinaloa cartel with guns.

    Authorities say some of the weapons were used in shootings in Mexico's drug war.

    Burke says those indicted include ring organizers and "straw buyers" recruited to buy guns on behalf of smugglers.

    Officials say one buyer who is accused of making six buys for the ring purchased 48 guns.

    In all, 560 of the ring's guns were recovered, a third in Mexico and the rest mostly in Arizona.

    The indictment was unsealed Tuesday.

    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_ph ... uggle-ring
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    U.S.: Gun raids show cartels at work in Arizona

    'Straw buyers' amass hundreds of assault rifles, federal officials say

    By Michael Isikoff
    National investigative correspondent

    NBC News NBC News
    updated 1 hour 32 minutes ago 2011-01-25T22:03:45

    Federal officials say they have new evidence that Mexico's most violent drug cartels are exploiting U.S. guns laws to acquire massive quantities of assault rifles and other firearms for use in their war against the Mexican government.

    In an early morning round-up in Arizona, law enforcement agents Tuesday arrested 20 people who are accused of illegally buying hundreds of AK-47s and other firearms at U.S. gun stores. The defendants allegedly acted as "straw purchasers," falsely declaring on federal forms they were purchasing the weapons for themselves, rather than their real clients: the Sinaloa Cartel and other Mexican drug trafficking organizations across the border, the officials said.


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    "The massive size of this operation exemplifies the magnitude of the problem — Mexican drug lords go shopping for war weapons in Arizona," said Dennis K. Burke, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, who announced the raids at a press conference in Phoenix.

    Story: Firearms from U.S. being used in Mexico drug violence

    The raids, along with five accompanying indictments of 34 suspects, are likely to call new attention to the state of U.S. gun laws at a time they have been the subject of mounting debate in recent weeks triggered by the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

    Jared Loughner is accused of taking advantage of those laws to acquire a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol and at least two high-capacity magazines at an Arizona gun store despite a history of mental troubles and drug use. U.S. agents say Mexico's drug cartels have similarly exploited the laws.

    Story: ATF targets gun dealers to stem sales to Mexican cartels
    Advertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoices.
    In the cases announced Tuesday, officials said the alleged straw buyers managed to acquire the weapons — and pass federal background checks — without raising red flags despite the fact that in some cases they plunked down large sums of cash for multiple purchases of assault rifles. In one case, officials said, seven individuals spent $104,251 in cash at various Phoenix-area firearms dealers to acquire 140 firearms.

    A federal indictment charges that some of the alleged gun traffickers would buy ten to twenty AK-47s per visit — sometimes just days apart and often from the same gun store, the Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Ariz.

    In one instance, according to the indictment, an alleged gun trafficker named Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta called the Lone Wolf gun store on Dec. 8, 2009, and asked how many AK-47s the store had in stock. Forty five minutes later, an alleged straw buyer and co-conspirator showed up at the store and bought 20 AK-47s, which he allegedly transported to an auto auction business in Phoenix and and then loaded into other vehicles.

    Last Aug. 5, another defendant charged in the case bought 12 AK-47s from Lone Wolf that three days later were discovered concealed in a stove and a television in an attempt to smuggle them into Mexico at a border stop.

    A clerk who answered the phone at the Lone Wolf gun shop Tuesday said he knew nothing about the charges against the store's former customers and referred any questions to Lone Wolf's owner, who was not available for comment.

    Many of the weapons purchased by the groups were AK-47s, which were banned under federal law in 1994, but became legal when the ban lapsed in 2004.

    In addition, officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the arrests point to the urgent need for White House approval of a federal rule they proposed last month that would require firearms dealers in four southwest border states — Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California — to report multiple sales of long guns.

    Currently, firearms dealers must report to the ATF when a customer buys two or more handguns, but no such requirement exists for long guns such as AK-47s, which were described by officials as the "weapon of choice" for Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

    ATF officials said such reporting would be an invaluable "intelligence tool" that would allow them identify potential straw buyers for the cartels.

    But that proposal, which was published in Federal Register in December, has drawn angry protests from the National Rifle Association and firearms industry, whose spokesmen argue it would impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on the gun stores and potentially infringe on the Second Amendment rights of legitimate gun buyers.

    When ATF acting director Ken Melson announced the proposal on Dec. 20, he said he expected it would be finalized and take effect in early January. But that has not happened, raising concerns within ATF that the gun lobby's opposition may have stalled it. A spokesman for the Justice Department did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41257218/ns ... nd_courts/
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  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    RELATED

    Feds charge 34 Arizonans for trafficking weapons to Sinaloa cartel

    http://www.alipac.us/ftopict-226111.html
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  6. #6
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    For Immediate Release
    Tuesday, January 25, 2011
    Dennis K. Burke, United States Attorney
    Contact: Manny Tarango
    (602) 514-7456
    manny.tarango@usdoj.gov

    Grand Juries Indict 34 Suspects in Drug and Firearms Trafficking Organization

    Multi-Agency task force rounds up defendants accused of illegal gun purchases, money laundering and conspiracy

    PHOENIX — Grand juries have returned multi-count indictments in five cases against 34 defendants accused of assisting Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations with illegally trafficking firearms from the United States to Mexico.

    Beginning earlier this morning, a multi-agency law enforcement task force rounded up and arrested 20 defendants named in the 53-count Avila indictment, which was unsealed today. More than 100 officers were involved in the operation.

    The Avila indictment alleges that from approximately September 2009 to December of 2010, the defendants conspired to purchase hundreds of firearms, including AK-47s, to be illegally exported to Mexico. Defendants, none of whom are licensed firearms dealers, acted as “straw purchasers
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