The Illegal and Legal Blur in US-Mexico Arms Trafficking

By David Lombardo


An illegal immigrant from Mexico was charged in Texas with attempting to purchase an M-203 grenade launcher and three AK-47s. The M-203 is a U.S. military single shot 40mm grenade launcher designed to be attached to the M16 and M4 carbine.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, on February 7th ATF agents arrested Oscar Fredy Garcia (31) near Los Fresnos, Texas, as a result of a sting operation. Undercover ATF agents initially met with Garcia the day before, when he made a $300 down payment on a $5,000 deal for the weapons. He agreed to meet the next day to take possession and was arrested in Los Fresnos.

Garcia subsequently told agents he was making the purchase for an Oscar Garcia Mendez. Details of the intended use of the weapons were not reported, though it is speculated they were destined to be smuggled into Mexico.

Garcia went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan, where he was charged with one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the U.S. The court further ordered Garcia to be held without bond due to his immigration status and flight risk. Garcia had one prior arrest in June 2015 near Roma, Texas, for illegally entering the U.S. At that time he pleaded guilty, served 30 days and was deported to Mexico.

ATF also arrested Dulce Maria Rippstine (36) from San Juan, Texas, and Juan Martin Segura (56), an illegal immigrant from Mexico, in a separate but apparently related case. The pair had other unnamed individuals acquire various weapons for them, including assault rifles, with the intent of smuggling them into Mexico.

ATF confirmed that a criminal complaint was filed against Mendez who had purchased at least one AK-47 from a gun store in Brownsville and turned it Click to see the original article