Army

Army sergeant in Texas admits funneling weapons to cartel

Firearms destined for the Zetas drug cartel seized in San Antonio, Texas, in February 2012.

Firearms destined for the Zetas drug cartel seized in San Antonio, Texas, in February 2012.  (AP)

A former Army sergeant from San Antonio, Texas is facing up to 30 years in prison after admitting in a federal court that he funneled dozens of assault rifles to operatives of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel.

Sgt. Julian Prezas acknowledged acquiring and selling 42 firearms, the San Antonio Express-News reported, but a co-defendant turned informant said just last year Prezas sold him 13 AR-15s, some 50 to 60 AK-47s and a shotgun.

The unnamed informant said he told Prezas that the guns were going to Mexico, the newspaper said, citing a plea deal formalized on Monday.

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Prezas, 36, worked as a military recruiter.

The co-defendant, one of four charged, told agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that he met Prezas via Facebook after he posted he had 1,000 magazines of ammunition for sale in the Rio Grande Valley.

He bought that ammunition and more, as well as rifles with the serial numbers obliterated, court documents said.

Prezas told prosecutors he ran the operation with the assistance of three servicemen he met in the military – they bought the firearms for him.

According to the San Antonio Express, when he was arrested in September 2015 Prezas had 17 guns he was taking to an undercover agent posing as cartel operative. Once in custody, he told agents he figured the firearms were going to Mexico, probably to a “cartel or something.”

Sentencing is scheduled for March in federal court.