Del Rio, Texas - U.S. Border Patrol agents, stopping to aid a stranded motorist, discovered a hidden cache of assault rifles, Thursday morning.
While conducting patrol duties near La Pryor, agents assigned to the Uvalde Border Patrol Station encountered a pickup truck stopped on the side of the road due to mechanical problems. Agents became suspicious after observing that the truck had sustained substantial damage, and the two occupants of the vehicle made conflicting statements.
A Border Patrol canine alerted to the rear of the pickup, leading agents to discover the weapons hidden in the truck.
The vehicle was transported to the Uvalde Border Patrol Station for intensive inspection. Agents recovered a total of 59 assault rifles and 49 high-capacity magazines from the pickup.
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the Uvalde Station to launch an investigation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection deployed technical assistance for further inspection of the vehicle.
The driver of the pickup, Cristobal Riojas, 29, of Dallas, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with unlawfully attempting to export firearms. Riojas appeared in federal court, in Del Rio, this morning and was ordered detained pending a detention hearing Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor R. Garcia. If convicted, Riojas faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
ICE is leading the investigation in coordination with ATF and the Zavala County Sheriff's Office.
A criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.