Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations arrested an Anthony, N.M., man Tuesday who they said was buying large amounts of ammunition and shipping it to Mexican drug cartels.
Carlos Guadalupe Morales, 25, was arrested at his home in the 900 block of Monroe Street in Anthony after federal authorities executed a search warrant at his home. They said they found 65,195 rounds of ammunition in the apartment.
Court documents reveal Morales told special agents he had bought and shipped about 200,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers to Mexico since the end of 2011.
According to court documents, Morales would order large quantities of ammo from online vendors and have it delivered to his apartment. Agents said surveillance revealed that vehicles would pick up the ammo at his home.
Neighbors confirmed to ABC-7 that they noticed UPS trucks coming often to deliver large boxes.
"It kind of fits now. It kind of does make sense. He never really had a job, and the trucks coming in and out, and all these visits. It makes sense now. That's really crazy," one neighbor who did not want to be identified said.
On Jul. 17, special agents seized around 10,000 rounds of rifle ammunition from a car trying to cross into Mexico. They traced those bullets back to Morales' home.
Agents said they found the following ammunition and other military-related items:
-35,100 rounds of .223-caliber rifle ammunition.
-29,820 rounds of 7.62x39 mm rifle ammunition.
-275 rounds of 9 mm pistol ammunition.
-two ballistic vests.
-three Kevlar military helmets.
-one 9 mm Keltee semi-automatic pistol.
-one .22-caliber Mossberg semi-automatic rifle with no serial number.
Morales is charged with knowingly conspiring with other people to export from the United States items listed on the U.S. Munitions List without a license or written permission from the U.S. Department of State.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF) told ABC-7 licensed online vendors follow the same rules as storefront owners.
They said there is no limit on how much ammunition a person can purchase. Ammo purchasers also do not have to go through background checks. They also said it's completely optional for vendors to report suspicious ammunition sales.
Morales had his initial appearance in court Thursday. His detention hearing began on Friday and will continue next Monday after pre-trial services interviews him to set conditions for his release.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
The ATF is also participating in this investigation.