Tuesday, November 12, 2013

AZMEX EXTRA 12-11-13


Son joins dad as defendant in gun case linked to Zetas

BY GUILLERMO CONTRERAS : NOVEMBER 11, 2013 : Updated: November 12, 2013 7:02am


SAN ANTONIO — Authorities have charged the son of a man suspected of selling numerous assault-style rifles, including one found during the July arrest of one of Mexico's most violent drug lords, Miguel Angel "Z-40" Treviño Morales.

Michael Damon Rodriguez was indicted in San Antonio on Friday on charges of selling guns without a license and providing a gun to his father, Manuel "Manny" Rodriguez. The charges were made public Monday.

The father-son transaction was illegal because the elder Rodriguez is a felon, having served almost four years in a federal prison for selling machine guns and other firearms without a license in California, authorities said.

During a raid at the pair's Spring Branch home in September, federal agents found what they said was a "small arsenal," and Manny Rodriguez was charged at the time with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A federal agent testified then that a "Century Arms AK-47 variant" rifle was provided to Michael Rodriguez by a "cooperating citizen" but that Manny Rodriguez later sold that rifle to someone else at a gun show in San Antonio.

It then made its way south of the border to the Zetas cartel.

"This gun was recovered from Miguel Treviño, Z-40, along with other firearms and some cash," ATF special agent Christopher Benavides testified at a September hearing for Manny Rodriguez. "Z-40 was head of the Zetas at the time."

During the raid of the Rodriguez home, agents reported finding more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition, 76 guns and $15,000 in cash. Michael Rodriguez's indictment seeks to take the items by forfeiture.

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also found that some of Manny Rodriguez's gun-show customers were supplying the Zetas with assault rifles.

In July, a Mexican navy helicopter tracked Treviño, whose other monikers include "El 40" and "Cuarenta," on a rural road near the Texas border outside Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. He is being held in a Mexican jail.

According to court testimony, federal authorities acknowledged that they have no evidence that the Rodriguezes knew any of the guns would wind up in the hands of the Zetas or make their way to its leader, who had reportedly ordered hits in Laredo and whose bloodthirstiness was known on both sides of the border.


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