CBP: Couple busted trying to smuggle flamethrower into Mexico

Hidalgo Port of Entry (Courtesy: CBP)

A couple from Jalisco, Mexico was arrested by customers officers at the Hidalgo port of entry Sunday after allegedly attempting to smuggle a cache of weapons into Mexico, including a flamethrower and around 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

At about 9:20 a.m., Israel Ferrer Zarate and his wife Damaris Gausin Estupinan attempted to drive across the bridge into Mexico on Sunday, according to a criminal complaint. At the bridge, their gray Dodge Journey was selected for an outbound vehicle inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

Customs authorities found 498 rounds of 9mm caliber ammunition zip-tied to the vehicle’s battery. According to CBP officers, they also found 500 rounds of .233 caliber ammunition, six firearm magazines, a red-dot sight, a P80 Polymer Micro conversion kit, a P80 Polymer 9mm pistol, and a disassembled Exothermic Pulsefire device, a flamethrower.

CBP brought in Homeland Security Investigations special agents who assisted the investigation by interviewing the couple.

During the interviews, agents learned that both Ferrer and Gausin entered the U.S. on Sunday to attend a gun show in McAllen, where they purchased the ammunition, accessories for weapons, and a flamethrower. Ferrer and Gausin later hid the items in various areas of the vehicle.

Ferrer and Gausin presented CBP officers with a B-1/B-2 Visa. According to CBP authorities, this form of visa prohibits the possession of firearms and ammunition in the U.S.

Special Agent Adrain Cavanaugh of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted a preliminary examination of the 9mm ammunition and determined the ammunition was manufactured outside of Texas, according to the complaint.