A Dallas man was recently indicted on weapon smuggling charges by federal prosecutors after allegedly being stopped by border patrol with nearly 200 guns in late October.
Santiago Ramirez, 26, faces considerable jail time and fines if found guilty of attempting to smuggle 187 firearms into Mexico on October 30. As explained in a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, Ramirez was formally indicted on four counts of weapons smuggling by a federal court in Del Rio on November 30.
The border patrol agents who inspected Ramirez’s trailer at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry allegedly uncovered a cache of cellophane-wrapped firearms ranging from handguns to rifles, according to CBS News Texas.
As reported by The Dallas Express, the border city of Eagle Pass has dealt with a vast number of unlawful migrants attempting to enter the United States, with video footage recently spotting a Mexican train bound for the U.S.-Mexico border carrying hundreds atop its roof.
The deal Ramirez allegedly told federal agents he had struck with a Mexican buyer named “El Tio” was to smuggle weapons from Dallas into Mexico. It reportedly paid $6,000 and was allegedly the third time Ramirez had done so, according to CBS News Texas.
Ramirez could be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines if convicted.
So-called “straw buyers,” such as Ramirez, allegedly have long been on federal authorities’ radar, according to a government report.
Approximately 200,000 U.S.-sourced firearms are believed to end up in Mexico, and often in the hands of drug cartels, each year. Nearly the majority of the guns are from the Lone Star State and are linked to the criminal networks involved in the distribution of fentanyl. Relatedly, human smuggling penalties have been enhanced by Texas lawmakers in an attempt to quell the crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border.
In Dallas, drug crime has soared, especially given the shortfall of officers within the ranks of the local police department, as covered by The Dallas Express. According to the City of Dallas crime analytics dashboard, 9,449 drug offenses had been committed within the city limits as of December 4, a 3.7% bump over the drug-related criminal activity logged during the same period last year.
DPD has only around 3,000 officers in its ranks, whereas a City analysis previously advised that Dallas needs roughly 4,000 on the streets to ensure public safety.