This is how americans are participating in the Mexican drug-murder
blood-bath by exporting their guns and ammo into Mexico.
The plan is that the cartels will get their hands on this ammo once it's
been taken away as evidence. It will be taken or stolen right out of
the hands of mexican police.
El Paso Timeselpasotimes.com
04/19/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
The U.S. truck driver detained by Mexican authorities Tuesday with
268,000 rounds of ammunition was transporting a legal cargo to Phoenix
but mistakenly exited to Juárez, the man's employer said on Wednesday.
Dennis Mekenye, owner of Demco Transportation Inc. in Arlington, Texas,
said Bogan Jabin Akeem, 27, left Dallas on Monday with a trailer with
nine pallets containing the ammunition.
The cargo was being taken from Tennessee to an ammunition retailer in
Phoenix called United Nations Ammo Co. as part of a legitimate
transaction, Mekenye said.
Akeem made a stop in El Paso and, before driving the last stretch toward
Phoenix, he accidentally took a wrong turn toward the international
Bridge of the Americas, his boss said.
"It was a mistake for him to take a wrong turn and find himself in
Mexican soil," Mekenye said. "He missed the exit, and he went south. He
asked one cop there, 'I missed my exit, how can I turn around?' "
Mekenye said Akeem could not turn the vehicle around at the bridge and
had to continue into Mexico. Coming back, Mexican authorities told him
they had to inspect his vehicle.
Mekenye said he didn't know whether Akeem declared he was transporting
ammunition or whether Mexican authorities discovered the cargo upon
"It was a legitimate movement from Tennessee to Phoenix," said Mekenye,
who also said that his company does not ship to Mexico and that he has
never been investigated for shipping contraband.
The owner of United Nations Ammo in Phoenix, who identified himself only
as "Howie," said he was expecting Akeem to arrive Tuesday night to
offload the cargo Wednesday morning.
"All the media was calling it cartel ammo, but we paid for that ammo,
it's really our property. In no way whatsoever was that ammunition ever
supposed to go to Mexico," he said. "We ordered this ammunition, and
it's ammunition meant to be sold in the United States of America for
legal hobbyists, legal shooters and legal enthusiasts."
The cargo had a value of $100,000, he said.
(that's about 37 cents per bullet)
"It's a tremendous shipment we paid for," he said. "We're hoping they
will release the man and our property so it can be delivered to us."
Howie declined to comment on how large the order of ammunition rounds
was compared with previous ones.
Federal officials did not respond to calls seeking comment on Mekenye's
version of the events.
Akeem was arrested Tuesday evening by Mexican federal authorities and
will remain in custody until a court determines whether a criminal case
will go forward. Mexican authorities have 48 hours to decide whether
they will continue with an investigation.
José Angel Torres Valadez, spokesman in the Northern region for Mexico's
General Attorney's Office, or PGR, said he could not share any details
until the 48-hour period has passed but said it is possible that Akeem
will be taken to Mexico City to continue the investigation.
Akeem was driving a tractor-trailer with Texas plates and the logo
"McKinney Trailer Rentals." A spokesman with McKinney confirmed that
Mekenye's company has been a McKinney client for several years.
The bullets were being transported inside metal boxes. Sources said the
ammunition is of the type used for AK-47 and AR-15 rifles. The rifles
are often used by members of Mexican criminal organizations.
The bullets are legal to buy in the United States, but the ammunition is
banned in Mexico, which considers those types of rifles and bullets only
for military use. The seizure was one of the largest made by Mexican
authorities in Juárez since a vicious drug-cartel war that has killed
more than 9,500 people erupted four years ago.
Mekenye said he has been in touch with the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, the
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the
Department of Homeland Security.
Olga Bashbush, spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate in Juárez, confirmed
that Akeem was a U.S. citizen and said consular officials met with him
Tuesday. Representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives did not return calls seeking comment.
Mekenye said that Akeem had been his employee for more than two years. A
criminal background check showed Akeem did not appear to have any
previous convictions or run-ins with the law.
U.S. authorities have increased enforcement to try to stop the so-called
Iron River, or flow of weapons, into Mexico.
Last week, a U.S. Border Patrol agent from El Paso and his girlfriend
were arrested by U.S. federal agents on gun-smuggling related charges.
They are accused of lying on federal forms to buy firearms and ammo
intended for Mexico.
In Juárez, local police operations have resulted in the seizure of 168
weapons so far this year.