BROWNSVILLE, Texas — An illegal immigrant from Mexico has been charged in connection with the attempted purchase of at least one grenade launcher and three AK-47s in Texas; it remains unclear if the weapons were meant for a drug cartel. The grenade launcher was bound for Mexico before the bust.
Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosive arrested 31-year-old Oscar Fredy Garcia last week near Los Fresnos, Texas, during the failed purchase of an M-203 grenade launcher, court records revealed. Garcia is listed as an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
The case began on February 6 when Garcia met with an undercover ATF agent to purchase the grenade launcher and three AK-47 rifles at a price of $5,000. During the meeting, Garcia gave the undercover agent $300 as a down payment. Another ATF agent wrote in the criminal complaint that Garcia revealed he was purchasing the weapons for a man named Oscar Garcia Mendez. It remains unclear if Garcia Mendez has been arrested in connection with the case.
An M-203 is a grenade launcher that fires 40mm rounds. Versions of the weapon can be used as a stand alone or can be attached to rifles such as AR-15s.
On February 7, Garcia met with the undercover agent to take delivery. The location of the meeting is not mentioned, but the agent arrested Garcia in the town of Los Fresnos. Late last week, Garcia went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan, who charged him with one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the U.S. and ordered that Garcia be held without bond due to his immigration status and flight risk.
A criminal complaint search revealed that Fredy Garcia was previously arrested on June 1, 2015, near the border city of Roma. Garcia was charged with having entered the country illegally. Garcia pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail; he was deported to Mexico thereafter.
In a separate case, federal authorities arrested 36-year-old Dulce Maria Rippstine from San Juan, Texas, and 56-year-old Juan Martin Segura, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. The two remain behind bars on charges of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States. The two are believed to have had various individuals purchase weapons on their behalf so they could be smuggled into Mexico.
The case against Rippstine and Segura began when federal authorities arrested a man named Jose Luis Mendez after he purchased an AK-47 style rifle so that it could be smuggled into Mexico.
A criminal complaint filed in Mendez’s case revealed that he purchased at least one AK-47 from a gun store in Brownsville and he turned it over to Olvera and Rippstine. While purchasing a rifle is legal, Mendez lied in federal forms by claiming that he was the actual buyer of the weapon when in fact he was a straw purchaser. ATF agents charged Mendez with one count of straw purchasing.