Mexico sues Arizona gun stores as seizures continue at Nogales ports

By Angela Gervasi | Nogales International

For the second time in a two-year period, the Mexican government is suing U.S. businesses over their alleged role in firearms trafficking – this time focusing on a slew of gun shops in Arizona.

Having suffered an initial setback in an earlier lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers, the Mexican government is now suing five individual gun dealers in Arizona: Two in Tucson, two in Phoenix and one in Yuma.

“Arizona is a hotbed of the unlawful gun trafficking into Mexico; these defendants made it so,” the complaint said of the gun dealerships.

The civil suit, filed Oct. 10 at U.S. District Court cites nearly 100 illegal arms sales in Arizona. Three of those sales resulted in arms seizures at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales as southbound travelers attempted to illegally carry firearms into Mexico.

The three defendants involved in those sales shared similar traits: all three were U.S. citizens, young men in their 20s, and all three allegedly purchased the materials at the same Tucson gun dealership.

Tucson connection

On Jan. 23, 2019, Leonid Cornejo and Jesse Cortez-Arguelles purchased thousands of rounds of ammunition at Diamondback Shooting Sports, a Tucson gun store, according to allegations from the Mexican government.

Later that day, the pair drove through Nogales, Ariz. and attempted to carry the ammunition into Mexico. As they traveled south through the Mariposa Port of Entry, U.S. customs officers conducted an outbound inspection.

There, the officers discovered 2,030 rounds of ammunition, along with a pistol, two rifles and four firearm magazines, according to U.S. federal court documents.


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October 2022