Mission man among 3 facing federal weapons charge

McALLEN — A Mission man faces a serious federal weapons charge after he is alleged to have purchased ammunition on behalf of a pair of Mexican citizens.

Arturo Alejandro Saenz faces up to 10 years in federal prison in connection with his arrest in the parking lot of a McAllen sporting goods store last weekend, according to court records.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person who, being an alien, has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa,” the complaint read.

The 21-year-old man was arrested — along with alleged accomplices Edgar Abiel Corona-Rodriguez and Oziel Corona-Rodriguez — during a traffic stop after Homeland Security Investigations special agents observed the trio loading ammunition into the back of a vehicle bearing Mexican license plates.

“On Sept. 23, at about 3:05 p.m., (HSI) special agents observed three men… loading a large amount of ammunition into a grey Nissan March bearing Tamaulipas, Mexico license plates, at a sporting goods store in McAllen,” read the criminal complaint filed against the trio.

Agents who observed the men ran a background check and confirmed that the vehicle had crossed into the U.S. earlier that morning on a non-immigrant Visa, with both Edgar and Oziel inside.

HSI agents called for help from McAllen police, who then pulled the group over on a “lawful” traffic stop, the complaint states.

McAllen police officers then obtained consent to search the vehicle and discovered a “significant amount” of ammunition within.

After arriving at the scene, HSI agents spoke with Saenz, who admitted to purchasing the ammunition for the Mexican citizens — more than 7,000 rounds of 7.62-by-39mm caliber ammunition.

“…Saenz admitted he was recruited by Edgar to procure a significant amount of ammunition that was intended to be smuggled from the U.S. into Mexico,” the complaint states. “Saenz claimed he purchased on the behalf of Edgar and Oziel because neither of them possessed an identification card.”

He told agents that Edgar gave him the money to buy the ammo and promised to compensate him for doing so.

“Saenz also admitted to previously purchasing firearms on behalf of Edgar that were intended to be smuggled from the U.S. into Mexico,” the complaint states.

Saenz was denied bond and made his initial appearance in federal court Monday; he remains in U.S. Marshals custody.

Both Edgar and Oziel also remain in custody, court records show.