SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Five men from Utah have been charged in federal court after allegedly attempting to smuggle over 34 guns in speaker boxes over the border into Mexico.
Javier Catalan Bahena, 34, and Erasmo Martinez, 43, of Salt Lake City, Filiberto Tapia Ocampo, 50, and Oscar Martinez, 24, of West Valley City, and Alvaro Martinez, 23, of Manga all have been charged with conspiracy to make false statements during the acquisition of firearms.
According to court documents, the Utahns bought several pistols, rifles, and shotguns from pawn shops, gun shops, and sporting shops. They were all recovered by law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas.
The documents allege that Ocampo and Alvaro Martinez each used Bahena’s credit card to purchase some of the guns found. When filling out ATF Form 4473, a legally required form by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for an over-the-counter transaction of guns, Ocampo and Martinez allegedly falsely stated they were the purchaser of the gun.
One gun was allegedly bought by Oscar Martinez and later sold to Erasmo Martinez before being recovered by border officials just a month later.
The guns were allegedly placed into speaker boxes before Bahena and Erasmo Martinez arranged to meet an unnamed person in Salt Lake City. The drivers were reportedly stopped in Eagle Pass where law enforcement discovered the guns and seized them.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the men face several individual charges.
Bahnea has been charged with smuggling goods from the United States, alien in possession of a firearm, straw purchase of a firearm, and two counts of false statement during the acquisition of a firearm.
Erasmo Martinez has been charged with smuggling goods from the United States and alien in possession of a firearm.
Alvaro Martinez and Ocampo have been charged with false statement during acquisition of a firearm. Alvaro Martinez has also been charged with straw purchase of a firearm.