HIDALGO, Texas - Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) on Tuesday seized 15 AK47 assault type rifles that were discovered hidden inside a pickup truck.
Federal agents received a call from Hidalgo Police Department after officers conducted a traffic stop on the city's east side on highway 281. During the officer's routine inspection of the vehicle, they identified suspicious activity. ICE HSI agents arrived at the scene of the traffic stop and took the vehicle to the Hidalgo Port of Entry where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted an intensive examination of the vehicle. It was during the examination that officers discovered the rifles hidden inside the fuel tank of the pickup truck.
"Weapons trafficking fuels violence by criminal organizations and threatens the security of communities along our borders and throughout the country," said Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Antonio. "This case is an example of the important work we do in conjunction with our law enforcement partners."
On Wednesday afternoon, the driver and the passenger, Antonio Ibarra, 41, and Edwardo Ibarra, 37, respectively, were arrested on state charges for firearms smuggling.
ICE HSI special agents routinely work closely with our law enforcement partners to share our expertise in import and export enforcement to keep our citizens safe and secure.