Federal agents posing as arms dealers in Fort Worth arrested three men trying to buy 20 machine guns to smuggle to Mexico, according to a criminal complaint.
The trio was expected to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday.
The men were arrested Thursday after an undercover sting by agents with the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said ATF spokesman Tom Crowley.
Gabriel Barbosa, also known as “Cholo,” Arnulfo Sanchez Castillo, also known as “Arturo,” and Juan Pedro Garza, Jr., also known as “El Comanche,” agreed to buy 20 fully-automatic weapons for $24,000 after meeting the undercover agents at a Fort Worth Walmart, the complaint said.
“During the meeting, ‘Arturo’ told the agents that the firearms would be taken into Mexico and would not remain in the United States,” the complaint said.
The men wanted 300 rounds of ammunition for each gun, according to the criminal complaint.
They were arrested after they showed up at a meeting with the cash and also methamphetamine, the ATF said.
The complaint did not specify if the men were Mexican nationals or American citizens.
Guns from the U.S. have been used by Mexico’s powerful cartels to kill thousands of people in that country’s bloody drug war, Mexico President Felipe Calderon has said.