By Guillermo Contreras
Dozens of semi-automatic weapons and ammunition were seized by deputies with the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Department after a traffic stop on Interstate 10 Thursday night. Authorities believe the weapons and ammunition were destined for Mexico.
A cache of 67 high-powered firearms seized in July in Guadalupe County was a shipment intended for the Zetas drug cartel in Piedras Negras, Mexico, federal officials said Monday.
The revelation came during a bail hearing in San Antonio for two of six suspects indicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States and of aiding and abetting.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy ordered Antonio Fidalgo-Cabello, 18, and Jessica Carolina Martinez, 31, both of Eagle Pass, held without bail after hearing an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration testify that the guns — hidden in a stack of gypsum wallboard on a trailer towed by a pickup — were “destined for individuals associated with the Zetas gang in Mexico.”
The weapons were seized July 7 after the Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office, acting on information provided from phone calls monitored by the DEA, stopped the 1993 Ford pickup near Seguin.
Details were scant at the time, but they came to light Monday when federal prosecutors unsealed the indictment and pitched their case before Mathy.
Many of the firearms were assault weapons, and half had obliterated serial numbers so the guns couldn't be traced, according to testimony and court documents.
DEA agent Denise Stone testified that Fidalgo-Cabello, who attends Eagle Pass High School but lives in Piedras Negras, helped load the guns onto the trailer in Houston. The truck and trailer had been driven there from Eagle Pass by Fidalgo-Cabello, Martinez, her boyfriend Raymundo Estevan Rivera, Jesus Manuel Perez Sr. and Adolfo Efren Tavira Alvarado, according to the indictment.
The shipment was arranged by their co-defendant, Jesus Manuel Perez Sr., an affiliate of the Zetas in the Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras area, according to testimony.
He and the others are in custody in Del Rio or San Antonio, records show.