PRESIDIO, Texas — Federal agents conducting surprise southbound inspections in the Big Bend area of Texas recently seized more than 6,400 rounds of ammunition illegally headed into Mexico.
The first seizure took place last Thursday, when officers assigned to the Presidio, Texas, port of entry conducted a southbound operation and encountered a 2003 Ford Expedition driven by a 20-year-old U.S. citizen. Upon inspection of the vehicle, officers discovered 6,380 rounds of various caliber ammunition hidden in the rear quarter panels and underneath the seats of the vehicle.
The second seizure ocurred just before 7 a.m. on Friday, also during a surprise inspection of vehicles leaving the United States. A 2003 Chevrolet Wagon Sport driven by a 49-year-old legal permanent resident of the United States was selected closer review. Inspection of the vehicle led to the discovery of an undeclared automatic weapon hidden in the rear quarter panel of the vehicle. CBP officers seized the 9mm handgun, 34 rounds of ammunition, and the vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle smuggling the ammunition was turned over to and arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI agents to face federal smuggling charges. There was no arrest in the gun case.
“Although the main goal of CBP is to protect the United States from terrorist and prevent terrorists from making entry into the United States, our officers are highly trained in the detection and interception of drugs, weapons and ammunition along our ports of entry,” stated acting Port Director Alejandro Leos.
Illegal shipments of guns and ammunition is one of Mexico’s biggest headache, as they fuel the escalating drug violence. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard says more than 200,000 guns are smuggled into Mexico from the United States and has urged the Trump administration to help stem that flow.