Border agent arrested for arms smuggling

April 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM
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EL PASO, Texas, April 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. Border Patrol agent and his girlfriend have been arrested on charges of buying weapons to smuggle to Mexico, federal authorities in Texas said.

A federal grand jury returned a 20-count indictment against Ricardo Montalvo, 28, and his girlfriend, Charla Gonzales-Ortiz, 29, accusing the two of acting as "straw purchasers" of firearms and ammunition, the El Paso (Texas) Times reported Tuesday.

A straw purchaser is a person who fills out paperwork to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer but is actually buying the gun for someone else.

The indictment alleges that between November 2010 and January 2011 the pair conspired to buy nine firearms that are legal in the United States but restricted in Mexico.

The arrest of Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz follows an investigation of more than a year by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Internal Affairs office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The two are scheduled to appear in federal court in El Paso.

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