Six suspects in McAllen, Texas were arrested after a criminal complaint was filed alleging possession of unregistered illegal explosives – namely, selling homemade hand grenades.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), led the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, from the Southern District of Texas, made the announcements public.
According to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Report, “Each defendant is charged with illegally receiving or possessing a destructive device that is not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. If convicted, they each face up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.”
There were four suspects from Edinburg, Texa: 23-year-old Celin Javier Montoya, 20-year-old Anthony Ozuna, 24-year-old Alfredo Rivera and 40-year-old Pedro Vega.
Another suspect 19-year-old Noe Gonzalez was from San Juan, Texas. The last suspect was 19-year-old Jonathan Sanchez-Torres, an illegal alien from Mexico residing in Pharr, Texas.
According to the statement made by ICE, “The criminal complaint was filed Dec. 5, 2016, and unsealed Tuesday following the arrests.”
Ozuna and Rivera are accused of planning to sell “improvised hand grenades or improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” at the request of Montoya and Vega. ATF and HSI special agents planned an undercover operation where they obtained all the hand grenades in Montoya and Vega’s possession. They discovered the explosives were originally from Gonzalez and Sanchez-Torres.
ICE also stated that Gonzalez had bought the exact items needed to build the device and spent six months constructing it before passing it on to Sanchez-Torres.
Vega was charged with receiving and possessing destructive devices this past Tuesday by the U.S. Magistrate B. Janice Ellington in Corpus, Texas.
Judge Ellington placed Vega back in custody while he waits for a hearing scheduled Dec. 9, 2016.
Montoya was scheduled to appear this past Wednesday before a federal judge in Corpus Christi while the other suspects are expected to appear before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby.
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