JAY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma man has pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy that led to the trafficking of firearms to Mexican cartels.
On Tuesday, 47-year-old Andrew Scott Pierson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.
“This case is the first successful prosecution in the country of the exportation and manufacturing of Mexican cartel firearms,” stated Acting United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross. “We are proud that this investigation made it more difficult for violent cartels to obtain firearms, and we intend to prosecute any case that will help keep guns out of the hands of these criminal organizations.”
In 2017, an Arkansas resident received a shipment of firearm components that he realized were counterfeit. He contacted law enforcement, who traced the weapons to a group in Texas.
The group was then transporting firearm parts to Pierson in Mexico, where he would assemble the parts into functioning automatic weapons for the Cartel Del Noreste and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Pierson admitted to ordering and receiving firearm parts from the United States and manufacturing automatic weapons in Mexico for the cartels. Following his arrest, officials say the cartels’ firearm availability was impaired.
“The cooperation among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and the government of Mexico is the foundation for combating cross-border firearms trafficking,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) New Orleans Field Division Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn. “ATF works relentlessly to keep guns out of the hands of drug trafficking organizations and their violent associates. Stemming the flow of illegal guns to Mexico remains a high priority for ATF.”
Pierson is facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.