Man accused of selling gun used in fatal Matamoros kidnapping indicted

Americans Shaeed Woodard and Zinder Brown's bodies return home and are transported from Matamoros, Mexico through Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates in Brownsville on March 9, 2023, after being killed during a Gulf Cartel kidnapping. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

The man suspected of selling one of the weapons used in the fatal kidnapping of four U.S. citizens last month pleaded not guilty before a federal judge on Thursday.

Roberto Lugardo-Moreno was arrested March 18 after Homeland Security Investigations received information from Mexican authorities that they recovered an AR-style pistol from the March 3 kidnapping of four U.S. citizens, two of which were killed.

According to the complaint, Lugardo-Moreno told investigators that he purchased the weapon on Oct. 17, 2019, for people he knew would be sending the weapon to a Gulf Cartel member in Mexico.

Lugardo-Moreno waived his detention hearing and remained in custody charged with the illegal export of the weapon and conspiracy.

Last week, the defendant was indicted on two counts for lying on a federal form, falsely claiming to purchase the weapon for himself and for the exportation of the weapon.

The defendant entered a plea of not guilty on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III.

The defendant was sent back to federal custody.

Judge Torteya scheduled the trial for May.