Federal authorities in South Texas Monday arrested two men, one of whom is a Mexican citizen, claiming the pair were attempting to sell live makeshift grenades, listed in court documents as “improvised explosive devices.”
US citizen Albert Joseph Ortiz and Cesar Giovanni Flores-Tirado, a Mexican national, face federal charges of receiving or possessing a destructive device.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led a sting operation in the southern border town of McAllen last month, in which an informant sought “grenades for sale.”
Ortiz delivered a live grenade to the informant’s location, allowing him to photograph the explosive before he promised to return to purchase it.
Flores-Tirado met the informant later that day at an intersection and sold the grenade for $400.
The next day, “ATF Special Agents and members of the McAllen Police Department Bomb Squad analyzed the grenade purchased on May 21, 2015,” a criminal complaint states. “The grenade was disassembled and appears to be a functional Improvised Explosive Device.”
“After the grenade was disassembled, a test burn was conducted on a small portion of the black material that was found inside of the device. The black material ignited when lit with a flame.”
A week later, the informant phoned his contact again and agreed to purchase five additional grenades from Flores for $2,000.
“The grenades were in a white bag and sitting on the passenger seat next to Flores,” documents state.
According to ValleyCentral.com, the complaint against Ortiz “documents additional grenade deals, including the purchase of nine grenades on May 22, and discussions with another government informant.
A spokesperson with the ATF declined to comment on the case, saying “We’re still right in the middle of it.”
For years, the federal government has warned of an increased domestic use of improvised explosive devices, specifically citing the “growing threat” of homegrown terrorism.
“The domestic IED threat from both homegrown terrorists and global threat networks is real and presents a significant security challenge for the United States and our international partners,” Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero said in classified congressional testimony.
Despite endless claims of a looming domestic terror threat, the Obama administration has perpetuated lax immigration policies which seem to be encouraging criminal elements in and around border communities.
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