A joint operation between the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the seizure 147 fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles, 263 high capacity magazines, 53 bayonets and 10,000 rounds of ammunition on Saturday, May 30 in the border city of Laredo Tx.
This city is located across the Rio Grande from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, a stronghold of the powerful Zeta drug cartel.
This is the second large seizure of assault rifles in South Texas within the last 2 weeks (see “Marine Corp reservist caught attempting to export….” on this site)
It is believed the weapons were in the process of being illegally exported into Mexico.
According to authorities, the Laredo Police Department initiated a traffic stop on a van after receiving a tip from the Webb County Sheriff’s Office Crime Stoppers Division. The Sheriff’s office had received anonymous information that the van was transporting illegal contraband.
The vehicle was stopped heading east on International Boulevard. The passenger of the vehicle, who has not been identified, attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended. Officers then discovered the arms cache inside the van.
In a press conference on Tuesday announcing the seizure, local and federal authorities said this was the largest assault rifle bust in the U.S within the last 10 years.
“Certainly, in the wrong hands, the devastation could have been incredible,” said LPD Chief Carlos Maldonado. “All you need to do is look at the news accounts from Mexico. You’ll see that this is comparable (to) a lot of weapons being used in Mexico.”
"I think this demonstrates more than anything else that we are responding to protect our citizens, protect our borders and protect this great country of ours,” added the Chief.
“This is going to create a big blow to the narco-trafficking because we believe it was heading south,” said Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar.” they are having a lot of trouble over there at this point...getting a hold of these arms."
“This is something long term, because federal agencies are involved. We can’t discuss the mechanics of it yet.” Stated Sheriff Cuellar
A federal investigation is ongoing.