For Immediate Release
Oklahoma Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison
Defendant Trafficked Firearm Parts to Mexican Cartels
LITTLE ROCK—An Oklahoma man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy that resulted in the trafficking of firearms to Mexican cartels. Andrew Scott, Pierson, 46, of Jay, Oklahoma, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Brian S. Miller.
In May 2017, an Arkansas resident received a shipment of firearm components that had been sent to him for cerakoting, a process in which a polymer-ceramic coating is added to a firearm or its parts to improve durability. The parts appeared to be 80% Colt lower receivers, and this individual recognized these firearm parts as counterfeit. He contacted law enforcement. The counterfeit receivers were traced to an organization in Laredo, Texas, which was transporting firearm parts to Pierson in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Pierson assembled the parts into functioning weapons for the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).
Pierson was arrested at the southern United States border on December 10, 2018. Pierson admitted to ordering and receiving firearm parts from the United States and manufacturing automatic weapons in Mexico for the CDN and CJNG cartels. Law enforcement later confirmed cartel firearm availability was impaired following Pierson’s arrest.
On September 3, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Pierson and seven others for their involvement conspiracies to traffic in counterfeit goods and to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Five codefendants have previously pleaded guilty, and one co-defendant remains a fugitive. In November 2021, Pierson pleaded guilty to Count 2 of the Fourth Superseding Indictment, conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.
“Mr. Pierson’s participation in the exportation and manufacturing of illegal firearms to Mexican cartels is an inexcusable contribution to the violence carried out by these groups,” said United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross. “We are committed to prosecuting any case that will help prevent violent criminal organizations from obtaining firearms.”
“Our Special Agents worked diligently on this investigation to intercept illegal weapon components being trafficked to criminal organizations in Mexico,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn. “Our goal is to disrupt and dismantle the illegal activity and this sentencing sends a message to those who seek to aid violent criminals that it will not be tolerated. ATF works aggressively to identify and investigate individuals who arm the ruthless organizations that are responsible for a majority of the extreme violence in Mexico.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service values our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Arkansas who helped bring this investigation to a successful conclusion,” said Thomas Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Fort Worth Division. “Illegal shipments of weapons threaten the safety of all our communities. These crimes are a priority for Postal Inspectors and demonstrate the importance of our mission that includes the safeguarding of the Postal Service, its customers, and preventing the illegal use of the U.S. Mail.”
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Essential support and coordination for Operation Thor’s Hammer was supplied by Special Operations Division (SOD) personnel, including assigned agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and attorneys from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section. The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Pine Bluff Police Department were also instrumental in the investigation, with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anne Gardner.
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