Man pleads guilty to running guns through Arkansas to Mexico

Border Crime

In this Jan. 25, 2011, file photo, a cache of seized weapons that were to be smuggled into Mexico is displayed in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to smuggle guns through Arkansas to Mexican drug cartels.

In a statement, federal prosecutors said Andrew Scott Pierson, 47, of Jay, Oklahoma, entered his plea before a federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million at sentencing, which hasn’t yet been scheduled.

In 2017, an unidentified Arkansas man reported receiving firearm components to process that he recognized as counterfeit. Federal agents traced them to a Laredo, Texas, organization smuggling the parts to Pierson in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Pierson turned himself over to federal agents at the Laredo port of entry in December 2018 and admitted to ordering and receiving firearm parts from the United States and manufacturing automatic weapons in Mexico for the Northeastern and Jalisco New Generation cartels. Law enforcement later confirmed that Pierson’s arrest impaired cartel firearm availability, prosecutors said.

Pierson is one of six defendants to plead guilty to charges under an indictment. A seventh defendant remains a fugitive in Mexico, according to the prosecutors’ statement.

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