Two arrested after 12,500 rounds of ammo found

July 11, 2012 10:02 PM


SAN JUAN — Federal and local authorities arrested two men accused of trying to smuggle more than 12,000 rounds of ammuni-tion into Mexico.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations special agents say they saw Joshua Issac Ortega, 20, exit an area gun shop with 1,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition on Tuesday, a criminal complaint states.

Agents called San Juan police officers, who visited Ortega’s apartment and saw him run out the back door upon their arrival, the complaint states.

Ortega told agents he had purchased the ammunition for someone else and that it was still in his car. He said more ammo was in-side the apartment.

Agents seized 2,980 rounds from Ortega, who later told agents he was paid $100 for every 1,000 rounds of ammo he purchased. He said he had purchased another 3,000 rounds for a man named "Rowdy" in San Juan and had been told the ammo would be smug-gled into Mexico beneath the body panels of a vehicle, the complaint states. Agents arrested Ortega on Tuesday.

Ortega told agents that Carlos Rubio, 25, was holding several thousand more rounds of ammunition at his San Juan home, the complaint states.

Agents met with Rubio and found 9,540 rounds of ammunition for various rifle sizes in his home, the complaint states.

Rubio told agents he was paid $100 to store the ammo at his wife’s residence for the past four to five months, the complaint states. Agents arrested him on Wednesday.

Both men face federal weapons trafficking charges — exporting designated munitions without a license — in federal court in McAllen. Such weapons smuggled into Mexico typically are purchased by drug cartels, though court records do not identify who the final recipient of the ammo may be.

No court dates had been set in the case Wednesday afternoon.

Two arrested after 12,500 rounds of ammo found | juan, rounds, san - Brownsville Herald