Mexicans Plead Guilty in Scheme of Drugs for Arms; Cartel Sought Military Weapons
Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Two Mexican nationals have pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to trade drugs and cash for military-grade weapons - including anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, grenade launchers and M-60 machine guns - for use by the Sinaloa drug cartel, the largest drug-smuggling gang in Mexico.
A third defendant in the case was convicted last week in federal court in Phoenix following his arrest by U.S. drug agents while attempting to deliver nearly 12 pounds of methamphetamines as a partial down payment for military-grade weapons.
It is a chilling thought that warring Mexican drug cartels are actively seeking military-grade anti-aircraft missiles and explosives in Arizona, so I am extremely proud of the work this office and our law enforcement partners have done to uncover and stop this particular scheme, said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke in Arizona.
This was a complex investigation - a tremendous team effort - that put a stop to a well-financed criminal conspiracy to acquire massive destructive firepower, he said Tuesday.
Pleading guilty in the case were David Diaz-Sosa, 26, of Sinaloa, Mexico, and Emilia Palomino-Robles, 42, of Sonora, Mexico.
Diaz-Sosa admitted to conspiring to acquire and export an anti-aircraft missile, conspiring to possess unregistered machine guns, transferring firearms for use in a drug-trafficking crime, and conspiring to possess and possession of methamphetamine in a scheme to acquire, transfer and export military-grade weaponry to a Mexican drug-trafficking organization. He will be sentenced Aug. 1 by U.S. District Court Judge James Teilborg.
Palomino-Robles pled guilty in her role as a courier, delivering 2,029 grams of pure methamphetamine and $139,900 to be used as a partial payment for export and transfer to Mexico of military-grade weaponry for use by a Mexican drug-trafficking organization. Her sentencing is set before Judge Teilborg on July 25.
A federal jury in Phoenix last week found Jorge DeJesus-Casteneda, 22, of Sinaloa, Mexico, guilty of possession with intent to distribute 12 pounds of methamphetamine as trade for military-grade weapons. He also is scheduled for sentencing on July 25.
Drug cartels use violence and intimidation to perpetuate their criminal activities and prey upon the weakness of others, said U. …