The attorney for Deming gun shop owner Terri Reese told jurors today that the Reese family fell victim to a misguided government sting operation.
Attorney Brad Hall told the court, "Our government successfully tricked the the Reese family into selling guns to people who weren't who they say they were."
A federal prosecutor said Tuesday that phone taps and undercover surveillance will prove its case against the Deming family accused of funneling weapons through a "straw buyer" to a Mexican drug cartel.
Deputy U.S. Attorney Maria Armijo said that Rick Reese, his wife Terri Reese and their sons Ryin Reese and Remington Reese were all part of a scheme to sell weapons to Juarez Drug Cartel associate Jose Roman.
Armijo alleged that Roman would come to the Reese's shop and point out the guns he wanted, then have legal U.S. buyer Penny Torres pay to acquire them for him. Armijo also said the government has a recording of a phone call in which Ryin Reese can be heard saying he hopes the guns would be used to kill Mexican Federales.
Attorney Jason Bowles, representing the Reese sons, told U.S. District Judge Robert Brack's court that, "In this case, the Reeses were targeted on the word of a cartel member."
Rob Gorence represents Rick Reese. He said Terri Reese is actually the one who reported a suspicious transaction involving Torres to the feds, but that investigators took four months to follow up on the tip.
Gorence also said his client's version of events would be supported by testimony from former law enforcement officers who worked for the Reeses, and by Homeland Security employees who had a key to their shop, because the Reeses allowed them to use their shooting range 24 hours a day.
Prosecutors said Roman is likely to be called as a witness today.