DPS seizes weapons, body armor, ammunition from human smuggling ring

An investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) led law enforcement to conduct a raid that uncovered a human smuggling ring with ties to drug cartels in Mexico — resulting in numerous arrests and the seizure of a large weapons cache.

The smugglers were operating out of both the El Paso region and Sunland Park, New Mexico. A press release issued by DPS details how early in the investigation, officers conducted a traffic stop on one member of the ring who was believed to be providing security for the human smuggling operation. The suspect was found to be in possession of a short-barrelled rifle.

Working in conjunction with U.S. Border Patrol agents, DPS was able to identify numerous members of the human smuggling ring and trace their connections to two Mexican drug cartels, the Nuevo Cartel De Juarez and the La Linea Cartel.

The investigation later expanded to include the New Mexico State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

After executing numerous search warrants, law enforcement arrested four men, two of whom were citizens of Mexico.

Lorena Anyla Enrique Acosta of Mexico, age 28; Adam Isaiah Ramirez of New Mexico, age 27; Gustavo Alexis Enriquez Acosta of New Mexico, age 23; and Edmundo Rodriguez Padilla of Mexico, age 24, were all arrested on human smuggling and weapons-related charges.

Acosta was not legally present in the United States, and records showed that he previously worked as a state police officer in Mexico.

Police also seized body armor, 10 firearms, and thousands of rounds of ammunition from the four suspects.

While authorities in the U.S. continue to encounter a staggering volume of illegal immigration, human smuggling, and drug smuggling into the country, law enforcement on both sides is seeing an increase in cartel operatives smuggling weapons from the United States into Mexico.

Officials in Mexico estimate roughly 200,000 firearms are smuggled into Mexico annually, and through tracing, officials have determined those firearms constitute 70 percent of all firearms used in criminal activity.

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