SPECIAL REPORT: Guns, lies and fear in the Rio Grande Valley

SPECIAL REPORT: Guns, lies and fear in the Rio Grande Valley

HARLINGEN – Federal agents say they’re seeing a spike in straw purchases in the Rio Grande Valley. An AK-47 is a very common weapon people will break the law to attempt to buy. CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with Homeland Security Investigations about how they are trying to crackdown on this illegal activity. An ATF agent showed us body cam video of an undercover operation. The gun seller by the counter, Salvador Rangel, believed the undercover agents were firearm traffickers. It’s not the first time agents visited his Edinburg store. “The majority of the cases that we are seeing here in the Valley involved firearm trafficking. And it is a scheme of acquiring firearms from licensed gun dealers – these guns are then smuggled to cartel members who are using these firearms to commit violent crimes in Mexico,” said ATF Agent Noel Rangel. The scheme is called straw purchasing. It’s when someone buys a firearm for another person. A person will probably offer money to an individual to buy guns the “legal” way. When it’s time to buy, the person physically purchasing in a weapon will lie on the ATF Form 4473. A warning label on Question 11A forbids anyone from buying a firearm for someone else. “By lying on that form, that is a federal felony,” said Rangel. Agents say buying illegally through straw purchasing is increasing in the Valley, especially in Starr and Hidalgo counties. CHANNEL […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.