Two guns purchased in private sales from Alaskans were discovered in a larger shipment of firearms on its way to a Mexican drug cartel last spring, according to charges filed recently in federal court. Smuggling charges against the now-jailed Miguel Moreno-Cortez allege he was an Alaska-based gun purchaser who was part of a larger network exporting guns from the United States to a drug-trafficking organization called Autodefensas de Michoacán Cartel in the Mexican state of Michoacán. According to the charging document, Moreno-Cortez bought a rifle and a shotgun in separate transactions in Alaska. Neither appears to have been bought directly from a licensed gun dealer. The charges do not mention how Moreno-Cortez met the seller of the rifle, but they say he found the shotgun for sale on Alaska List, an online classifieds site. Unlike licensed dealers, federal law does not require a private gun seller to conduct background checks on gun purchasers.
According to the charging document, the investigation leading to Moreno-Cortez’s arrest started when police in Mexico conducted a random search of a tractor-trailer in April. The charges said a scanner found an “anomaly.” Then, inside two refrigeration units, police discovered 24 guns, ammunition, magazines and body armor. [full article]