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Three Men Arrested For Trying To Buy Rifles For Mexican Cartels At Dallas-Fort Worth Store

A Texas man and two Californians are accused of trying to buy high-power rifles for a Mexican drug cartel in a gun store in the middle of Dallas-Fort Worth suburbia.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the men were trying to buy at least four M259S assault rifles, a civilian version of the military’s M249 SAW light machine gun. They were arrested for making a firearm straw purchase, which is illegally buying guns on behalf of someone else. This is a tactic commonly used by Mexican cartels to avoid suspicion from law enforcement officers.

In January, Ghaith Alagele, 39, Mustafa Shaker, 35, and Oliver Vielman-Solis walked into RifleGear with thousands of dollars in cash and tried to buy the guns. According to court documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News, the weapons had enough firepower to invade a small city.

Alagele and Shaker are Iraqi immigrants, while Vielman-Solis was a Guatemalan, but the three are legal residents of the U.S. Now they are in custody awaiting trial on charges of felony firearms trafficking and conspiracy to purchase a firearm by making false statements.

Ed Richardson, Shaker’s attorney, has said that the government has presented no evidence that his client was involved in other gun sales and that the government is making assumptions. He also said his client just needed money and “made a stupid decision.

“They were here to make money,” Richardson said.

Straw purchases have recently been criminalized. Last year, a new federal law went into effect that makes straw purchases a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. According to the Washington Post, the Justice Department has charged more than 250 people under the new law in the past 16 months

Mexican cartels have recently begun to seek an increase in firepower as cartels in the country fight each other for territory. Recently, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives warned U.S. gun sellers about this trend and straw purchases.

According to a report by the United States Government Accountability Office, about 70% of all guns recovered in Mexico were from the U.S., and Texas accounted for 42% of those.

Texas is the perfect place for Mexican drug cartels to buy their weapons because it is difficult to buy or acquire guns in Mexico, and the state does not require any kind of license to buy a high-caliber rifle within its borders.

“We are having a problem with high-caliber military weapons,” said Carlos Peña Ortiz, mayor of Reynosa, a Mexican border city, in 2022. “We know that most, if not all, of these high-caliber weapons are coming from the United States and a significant amount are likely coming from Texas. The financial incentive to smuggle weapons into Mexico is high and purchasing them in Texas and driving a few miles is too easy.”

Written by RA News staff.


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