HomeWorld News6 charged with bid to smuggle arsenal to Mexican drug cartel

6 charged with bid to smuggle arsenal to Mexican drug cartel

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Six males have been charged with plotting to smuggle assault weapons and lots of of 1000’s of rounds of ammunition, together with .50-caliber armor piercing bullets, to one in every of (*6*) most violent drug cartels, authorities introduced Monday.

The alleged ringleader of the scheme, Marco Antonio Santillan Valencia, 51, of Whittier, California, and three different males had been arrested final week whereas a fifth is in custody going through separate expenses in North Carolina and the sixth is believed to be in Mexico, the U.S. legal professional’s workplace mentioned.

The males are accused of conspiracy to violate federal export legal guidelines by smuggling weapons into Mexico for the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación. Several additionally face different smuggling or cash laundering expenses.

The males used drug cash to buy legally-available weapons in Oregon and Nevada and ammunition from a number of states, generally ordering pallets of bullets for supply to a “stash location” in Nevada, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

The operation began in March 2020 and lasted about a year, during which some items were sent to Mexico while authorities seized others, including assault rifles and several hundred thousand rounds of ammunition, including some 10,000 rounds of .50-caliber armor piercing incendiary ammunition obtained in Arizona, authorities said.

Also seized were assault rifle parts and kits to assemble miniguns, which are six-barrel rotary machine gun capable of firing up to 6,000 rounds per minute, authorities said.

“This case alleges a scheme to provide military-grade firepower to a major drug trafficking organization that commits unspeakable acts of violence in Mexico to further its goal of flooding the United States with dangerous and deadly narcotics,” U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison mentioned in an announcement.

The males had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles final month. Santillan and two different Southern California males pleaded not responsible on Jan. 19 in Los Angeles. Santillan’s son, Marco Santillan Jr., 29, of Pahrump, Nevada, was ordered arraigned on Feb. 2. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not he had an legal professional to communicate on his behalf.

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