Man involved in scheme to smuggle military weapons to drug cartel gets 30-months

By Thyrie Bland |
December 18, 2014 at 1:14 PM, updated December 18, 2014 at 1:20 PM

MOBILE, Alabama -- A man who pleaded guilty in August to being involved in a scheme to smuggle military weapons from Mobile to a Mexican drug cartel has been sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison.

Chief Judge William Steele sentenced Carlos Albert Garcia on Wednesday in federal court in Mobile. After Garcia's release from prison, the native of Mexico will be turned over to immigration officials to be considered for deportation.

Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export merchandise from the United States. He was one of five people arrested in connection with the scheme.

The cases against the other four men already have been resolved.

In 2011, Carlos Mata-Ocan and Reynaldo Arraiga were sentenced to three years in prison. Guillermo De La Garza received time served and probation during his sentencing hearing in 2012. Rafael Enrique Peyrani received a 51-month sentence in January.

An investigation began in 2010 after one of the five people involved in the scheme talked with an undercover Homeland Security investigator about purchasing military weapons, according to court records.

An arrangement was made to buy 23 AR-15 assault rifles, four M-16 assault rifles, five M-203 grenade launchers, 10 40mm grenade projectiles and 24 9mm Beretta pistols.

The plan was provide the weapons to members of the Gulf Cartel in Mexico, according to court records.

One of the five men traveled to Mobile on Oct. 24, 2010, so he could met with the undercover agent, inspect the weapons and make a down payment on the purchase, the records state.

An agreement was made to buy the weapons for $86,500.

Two of the suspects met the Homeland Security investigator in Brownsville, Texas, on Oct. 28, 2010, so they could buy the weapons, according to court records.