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13 charged with gun buying for drug cartel

Feb. 7, 2012 at 5:33 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- At least 13 people are in custody in San Antonio, Texas, for allegedly buying rifles for Mexico's Zetas drug cartel, officials said.

More than a dozen suspects have appeared in federal court charged in an indictment with acting as "straw" purchasers -- people with clean criminal records who buy guns for someone else, the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.

They face charges ranging from making false statements to gun smuggling. One of the defendants is an illegal alien who had been convicted of domestic violence, the Express-News said.

The defendants, who range in age from 22 to 53, are accused of buying high-powered rifles for the drug gang. The indictments, issued in Del Rio, Texas, allege defendants bought about 18 high-powered M4 and DTI-15 military rifles from San Antonio-area gun stores beginning last fall.

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