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ATF arrest Mexican national trying to buy grenade launcher in south Texas

February 14, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
ATF arrest Mexican national trying to buy grenade launcher in south Texas Sceenshot

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A Mexican national in the U.S. illegally has been charged for his role in the attempted purchase of three AK-47s and at least one grenade launcher in Texas; it is not clear if the weapons were destined for a drug cartel. The grenade launcher was destined for Mexico before the bust.

Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosive took 31-year-old Mexican national Oscar Fredy Garcia into custody last week near Los Fresnos, Texas, during the failed purchase of an M-203 grenade launcher, court records indicated.

The case started on February 6th when Garcia met with an undercover ATF agent to buy the grenade launcher and three AK-47 rifles for $5,000. During the meetup, Garcia provided the officer with $300 as a deposit. Another agent wrote in a criminal complaint that Garcia admitted that he was buying the weapons for a man named Oscar Garcia Mendez, KGRV reported.

It is not clear if Garcia Mendez has been arrested in the case.

An M-203 is a grenade launcher that discharges 40mm rounds. Variations of the weapon can be used as a stand alone or can be added to rifles such as AR-15s.

On February 7th, Garcia met with the agent to take delivery of the weapons and was arrested. Last week, Garcia appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan, who charged him with conspiracy to commit a crime against the U.S. and required the Mexican national remain in custody without bond because of his immigration status and because he is a flight risk.

A criminal complaint search indicated that Fredy Garcia was arrested on June 1, 2015, near the border city of Roma. He was charged with illegally entering the country. The man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days behind bars before he was deported to Mexico.

In an unrelated case, federal officials arrested 36-year-old Dulce Maria Rippstine from San Juan, Texas, and 56-year-old Juan Martin Segura, an illegal from Mexico. The two remain in jail on charges of conspiring to commit an offense against the U.S. The two allegedly had various individuals buy weapons on their behalf so they could be snuck into Mexico.

The case against Rippstine and Segura was launched when authorities arrested a man named Jose Luis Mendez after he bought an AK-47 style rifle so that it could be brought into Mexico.

A criminal complaint filed in Mendez’s case indicated that he purchased at least one AK-47 from a gun shop in Brownsville and he gave it to Olvera and Rippstine. Although purchasing a rifle is legal, Mendez lied in documents by claiming that he was the actual buyer of the gun when in reality he was a straw purchaser. ATF agents charged Mendez with straw purchasing.

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