Arizona Busts Gun-Running Ring

20 indicted for buying 700 guns, planning to smuggle them to Mexican gangs
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2011 5:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Twenty Phoenix-area men were indicted yesterday on charges of buying more than 700 guns—including AK-47 assault rifles—and conspiring to smuggle them to Mexican drug gangs. The accused acted as "straw purchasers," claiming that the weapons they bought were for their own use, when in fact they were going to a Mexican drug cartel, wrote the prosecutor. The Los Angeles Times reports that while there are no licensed gun dealers among those charged, the indictments do reveal a number of dealers that sold guns in large quantities to a single individual in a single day.

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In one instance, a Glendale, Ariz., dealer sold one of the defendants 26 AK-47 rifles on March 26; 10 on June 2; 16 on July 8; and 12 on Aug. 5—among other weapons. "The massive size of this operation sadly exemplifies the magnitude of the problem—Mexican drug lords go shopping for weapons of war in Arizona," read the prosecutor's statement. The indictment comes a day after Hillary Clinton visited Mexico and expressed support for its fight against the drug cartels, reports the BBC.
(Read more Mexican drug cartel stories.)

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