LAREDO, Texas – Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on Tuesday led an enforcement action that resulted in seizing 21 rifles, 962 rounds of ammunition, ammunition magazines, belt-fed magazines, ballistic plates, armor carriers and ghillie (camouflage) suits.
According to law enforcement authorities, in June 2018, Task Force members with Laredo’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) were conducting surveillance of a downtown Laredo parking lot. They witnessed an individual transfer boxes from one vehicle to another. Task Force members approached the individual and conducted a preliminary search inside the vehicle. During the search they discovered a large cache of weapons and other related merchandise. Law enforcement suspect that the merchandise was about to be smuggled to Mexico.
No immediate arrests were made in connection to the seizure.
The HIDTA task force is composed of HSI special agents, investigators from the Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Office, Zapata County Sheriff’s Office, and Customs and Border Protection’s U.S. Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations. The task force identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug trafficking organizations and their illicit activities which destabilize communities in the south Texas area and beyond.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and investigates a diverse portfolio of federal laws. HSI investigates violations of U.S. customs and immigration laws pertaining to border security, homeland security and public safety.
In fiscal year 2017, HSI special agents seized 5855 weapons and 673,327 rounds of ammunition, helping to keep communities safer both in the United States and Mexico.
HSI has jurisdiction to investigate the smuggling of weaponry into Mexico. Additionally, possessing a firearm with an altered or obliterated serial number is a violation of federal firearms laws.