leader of international gun trafficking conspiracy sentenced to federal prison | USAO-OR

PORTLAND, Oregon — A Mexican national residing in Portland was sentenced today to federal prison for his leadership role in a conspiracy to illegally obtain hundreds of high-powered semi-automatic rifles and firearms. quality in and around Portland and smuggle them into Mexico for use by the Jalisco Next Generation Cartel (CJNG).

David Acosta-Rosales, 51, was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison and three years on probation.

“This case represents two important public safety issues. First, no state, regardless of its location and proximity to the US-Mexico border, is beyond the reach of violent drug cartels. International drug trafficking may seem to most Americans a distant geopolitical problem with little connection to our own communities, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Second, every day in the United States drug dealers and other criminals manipulate the legal process to obtain firearms from authorized dealers in the United States, of which there are hundreds of thousands. Our office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to prosecute anyone who attempts to illegally buy or distribute firearms, ”said Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“The ATF will relentlessly investigate anyone who traffics in firearms,” said Seattle ATF Special Agent Jonathan T. McPherson. “Whether they are organizing an international trafficking cell, like Acosta-Rosales was doing, or buying guns for the purpose of trafficking, we will ensure that they are arrested and, through the office prosecutor, prosecuted to the greatest extent possible. the law.”

According to court documents, since at least September 2019, Acosta-Rosales had been running a hierarchical firearms trafficking cell operating in the Portland area. In this role, Acosta-Rosales managed several co-conspirators who served as high-volume straw buyers and recruiters of new straw buyers. These associates would also oversee and liaise with low-volume straw buyers, who in turn would pass on the weapons they had acquired to Acosta-Rosales’ direct reports.

Acosta-Rosales has received orders and requests for semi-automatic rifles, high-quality firearms and explosive devices from his “boss” in Mexico and other CJNG-affiliated co-conspirators. These co-conspirators were particularly interested and focused on obtaining high powered guns, especially lethal ones, such as the AR-15 and AK-47 platform rifles, semi-automatic rifles of .50 caliber and premium military style combat assault rifles.

Acosta-Rosales received hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate its program and recruited numerous straw buyers to make the illegal gun purchases. One of Acosta-Rosales’ first recruits was his own young son who later withdrew from his father’s criminal enterprise. Before the illegally obtained firearms were transferred out of Oregon by mail, Acosta-Rosales himself participated in the erasure of serial numbers on firearms and also recruited a co-conspirator to help. to erase serial numbers. Acosta-Rosales continued to exploit the plot even after ATF agents arrested one of his co-conspirators and seized many of the group’s guns. In total, Acosta-Rosales facilitated the illegal purchase and transfer of around 150 firearms to Mexico. He also acquired a grenade launcher and a .50 caliber tripod-mounted semi-automatic firearm that he intended to transfer to Mexico, but was arrested by federal agents before he could do so.

On October 6, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland released an indictment of 52 counts accusing Acosta-Rosales and 10 associates of conspiracy, misrepresentation in connection with the acquisition of firearms, the possession and receipt of firearms with erased serial numbers and smuggled goods from the United States

Seven of the Acosta-Rosales co-conspirators have pleaded guilty. Five have been convicted and two are awaiting trial. The other three co-conspirators are awaiting trial.

Acting US attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the Oregon District made the announcement.

This case has been investigated by the ATF and is being pursued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

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