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Six Texas residents receive hefty sentences in Gulf Cartel bomb making case

September 17, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Six Texas residents receive hefty sentences in Gulf Cartel bomb making case

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Six suspects accused of manufacturing grenades for the Gulf Cartel in Mexico were sent to prison for their participation in building explosives and smuggling wares south from Texas.

Justice Department officials said in a press release, that before the suspects were busted, the group sold 50 grenades to cartel members and acquired materials to manufacture hundreds more.

During a sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Pedro Vega Genova, 40, to 20 years behind bars and Noe Gonzalez, 19, to over 16 years for their roles in the production of the grenades.

Judge Alvarez also sentenced Celin Javier Montoya Rodriguez, 23, Alfredo Rivera, 24, and Jonathan Sanchez Torres, 20, to 10 years in prison for their parts in the conspiracy; 20-year-old Anthony Ozuna was also issued an 8-year prison stint.

Authorities busted the group making and delivering hand grenades for the Gulf Cartel.

While most of the  Gulf Cartel bomb makers were from Texas, Jonathan Sanchez Torres is an illegal from Mexico, and Montoya Rodriguez is a lawful resident, also a native of Mexico.

The case was launched in November 2016 when agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms started an undercover investigation after receiving information from an informant about a group marketing grenades for $450 each.

During the operation, the ATF informant and agents bought ten grenades for $4,500 and agreed to make more purchases.

The members of the group also claimed to have access to body armor and other weapons. Over the course of the investigation, the bomb makers made other sales to undercover agents before they were arrested in December. They have since pleaded guilty.

The Rio Grande Valley has a history of Mexican cartel members participating in the underground business of explosives. In 2015, federal authorities discovered another cartel-linked group that made grenades for Mexican criminal organizations.

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