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Feds bust two cartel gun runners in Phoenix

October 22, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds bust two cartel gun runners in Phoenix

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms teamed up with Phoenix law enforcement officials to apprehend two cartel gun runners after they allegedly purchased firearms with the intent of selling them to Mexican drug cartels.

Court documents indicate that the two suspects arrived in Phoenix from Nogales to buy rifles destined for Mexico, ABC15 Phoenix reported.

Phoenix police revealed that they obtained information from the ATF that two individuals were coming from Nogales to the “Mo Money Pawn Shop” to buy firearms that were put on layaway.

An agent with the ATF was at the shop on October 13th, and witnessed 24-year-old Brandon Isias Mankel buy three “Colt M4 rifles.”

Phoenix police officers trailed the vehicle and eventually pulled the men over.

During a search of the car, authorities discovered three rifles, four cell phones, and various amounts of marijuana and heroin. A second man in the car, 25-year-old Julio Cesar Morales, was allegedly responsible for taking Mankel to Phoenix and providing him with the cash to purchase the firearms.

According to police, the men were going to make $200 per firearm from the drug cartel. Upon their arrest, Mankel confessed to forging ATF forms to buy the guns.

Morales also admitted to being paid by the cartel for driving Mankel to Phoenix and would be the one bringing the guns across the U.S.-Mexican border.

The two cartel gun runners have been charged with weapon misconduct and remain in custody.

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