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Texan and two Californians accused of trying to buy weapons for Mexican drug cartel

The defendants were identified as Ghaith Alagele, 39, Mustafa Shaker, 35, and Oliver Vielman-Solís

Jueces ratifican ley que impide comprar armas antes de los 21 años en Florida
Jueces ratifican ley que impide comprar armas antes de los 21 años en Florida | EFE/EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH

March 20, 2024 1:38pm

Updated: March 21, 2024 9:36am

Three people are being charged in an attempted clandestine transaction involving high-powered weapons destined for a Mexican drug cartel. A Texas man and two California residents are under scrutiny for their alleged involvement in illegal arms trafficking and straw purchasing of firearms.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the defendants, identified as Ghaith Alagele, 39, Mustafa Shaker, 35, both Iraqi immigrants, and Oliver Vielman-Solís, of Guatemalan origin, appeared at the RifleGear gun store with the intention of purchasing, at least four M259S assault rifles. These weapons are a civilian version of the military M249 SAW light machine gun and are recognized for their firepower and destructive capabilities.

The objective of the purchase, according to authorities, was to supply these rifles to the Mexican cartel, in an effort to strengthen its military arsenal. This modus operandi, buying weapons in the name of another person, is a recurring tactic used by cartels to evade the surveillance of the authorities.

Court documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News reveal that the weapons had enough firepower to put even a small town in check. The defendants, who have legal residence in the United States, now face serious charges for crimes related to illegal firearms trafficking and conspiracy to acquire weapons through false statements.

Ed Richardson, a lawyer for one of the defendants, has stated that his client was only interested in getting money and that his involvement in this incident was a “stupid decision.” However, the implications of their actions could have serious legal consequences, given the tougher sentences for those who engage in fictitious gun purchases.

This case sheds light on a worrying trend: the increase in the search for firearms by Mexican cartels, which fight among themselves for control of territory. U.S. federal authorities have intensified their efforts to stop this flow of illegal weapons, especially since the implementation of the new federal law, which dictates imposing harsh penalties on those who participate in false gun purchases.

The report from the United States Government Accountability Office reveals that 70% of the weapons recovered in Mexico come from the United States, and Texas appears as one of the main points of origin of this illicit trafficking. The ease of acquiring weapons in this state, combined with the demand from Mexican cartels, has turned Texas into a crucial node in the international arms trafficking circuit.

Faced with this worrying panorama, authorities are redoubling their efforts to combat the illegal arms trade and guarantee security both in the United States and in neighboring countries such as Mexico.