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Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar regarding arms trafficking
January 27, 2022

“The governments of the US and Mexico yesterday renewed our joint commitment to combating criminal arms trafficking, human smuggling and illegal narcotics flows that victimize the people of both nations.  We look forward to increased collaboration under the Bicentennial Framework to ensure the safety of the citizens in both our countries. While we are exploring novel ways to deepen our cooperation, the relationship between our law enforcement agencies is longstanding and productive.

I want to highlight three important recent indictments and prosecutions against arms traffickers:

First, Wednesday, January 19, a U.S. grand jury indicted six people on 23 counts related to illegally export weapons to Mexico for the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion.  The criminals used illegal drug sales to purchase military-grade assault rifles, ammunition, and machine gun parts.  U.S. law enforcement officials arrested five of the men; we believe the sixth is a fugitive in Mexico. The defendants face charges that could result in up to 30 years in prison. (More on this case)

Second, an Oklahoma man, Andrew Scott Pierson, faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a one million-dollar fine after pleading guilty of conspiracy to violate the Arms Control Act. Five co-conspirators have plead guilty and one is a fugitive in Mexico. The group worked with a Laredo, Texas-based organization that assembled firearms parts into functional automatic weapons for the Cartel del Noreste and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion. (More on this case)

Third, a federal grand jury indicted a Mexican national residing in Oregon and 10 of his associates with 52 counts of violating US law. David Acosta-Rosales pled guilty last September to leading a conspiracy to illegally obtain and smuggle into Mexico high-powered rifles and high-grade firearms for the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion. Last December, Acosta-Rosales was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Seven of Acosta-Rosales’ co-conspirators have also pled guilty. (More on this case)

The US government is committed to curbing the illegal flow of weapons, drugs and people across its shared border with Mexico. These cases are good examples of our efforts to bring firearms traffickers to justice. With our enhanced security cooperation with Mexico under the Bicentennial Framework, we will continue to protect our people.”