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Contraband
08/02/2012

HSI seizes 65,000 rounds of ammunition destined for Mexican drug cartels

A New Mexico man is arrested and remains in federal custody

HSI seizes 65,000 rounds of ammunition destined for Mexican drug cartels
HSI seizes 65,000 rounds of ammunition destined for Mexican drug cartels

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — An Anthony, N.M. man, who was purchasing large amounts of ammunition and shipping them to Mexican drug cartels, remains in federal custody following his arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

HSI special agents arrested Carlos Guadalupe Morales, 25, last week after executing a federal search warrant at his home in the 900 block of Monroe St. in Anthony, N.M. Agents found 65,195 rounds of ammunition in the apartment. Following is a breakdown by ammunition caliber, as well as the other military-related items that were discovered:

  • 35,100 rounds of .223-caliber rifle ammunition
  • 29,820 rounds of 7.62x39mm rifle ammunition
  • 275 rounds of 9mm pistol ammunition
  • 1 ballistic vests
  • 3 Kevlar military helmets
  • 1 9mm Keltee semi-automatic pistol; and
  • 1 .22-caliber Mossberg semi-automatic rifle with no serial number.

Morales is charged with knowingly conspiring with other persons to export from the United States items listed on the U.S. Munitions List without a license or written permission from the U.S. Department of State. According to court documents, Morales estimates he has bought and shipped to Mexico about 200,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers since the end of 2011.

Morales had his initial appearance in court late last week and has been scheduled for a detention hearing in federal court.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also participating in this investigation.