U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of Texas
Southern District of Texas
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2013
Kenneth Magidson, United States Attorney
Contact: Angela Dodge, Public Affairs Officer
Laredo Los Zetas Arms Traffickers Plead Guilty
LAREDO, Texas – Pablo Cerda, 36, and Nicolas Sanchez-Reyes, 50, have been convicted for their roles in a conspiracy to export weapons to Mexico destined for Los Zetas drug trafficking organization, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The two Laredoans both entered pleas to one count of conspiracy to export arms.
In November 2010, agents learned of a shipment of weapons to be delivered in Laredo from the Dallas area for transportation to Mexico. Otilo Osorio and Ranferi Osorio were identified as co-conspirators in the Dallas area who were to deliver the weapons to other co-conspirators for transportation to Laredo. Cerda and Sanchez-Reyes were tasked with receiving the shipment of weapons from Dallas in Laredo and arranging for the transportation of said weapons to the Republic of Mexico.
On Nov. 9, 2010, agents set up surveillance at the parking lot area of a Wal-Mart located near I-35 in Lancaster, at which time agents observed a tractor trailer driver meet with Ranferi and Otilio Osorio who arrived in a Ford Explorer. Two large duffel bags believed to contain weapons were removed from the Explorer and placed inside the tractor. Agents then followed the tractor-trailer.
Sanchez-Reyes and Cerda then coordinated the receipt of the weapons for ultimate transportation to Nuevo Laredo. Between Nov. 9 and 10, the men called each other regarding the logistics of the shipment and coordinated the delivery of the weapons in Laredo to another driver secured by Cerda who would transport the weapons to Mexico.
On Nov. 9, Webb County Sheriff‘s deputies conducted a traffic stop in Laredo of tractor trailer transporting the weapons. At that time, Sanchez-Reyes called the driver's phone and a deputy answered the call. Unaware of the situation, Sanchez-Reyes said he was looking for the driver who was supposed to bring him something, at which time the deputy informed the driver could not talk. After the stop, deputies located the two duffle bags and found 40 high-powered firearms consisting of various makes, models and calibers as well as 39 empty magazines. Agents then discovered that 37 of the 40 firearms recovered had obliterated serial numbers. The driver was arrested at the scene.
Sentencing has yet to be set. The defendants will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Co-defendants Otilo and Ranferi Osorio were indicted in Dallas and have since pleaded guilty and sentenced to prison.
The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary Lou Castillo.