JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Three men are in custody for alleged possession of banned high-caliber firearms, as Juarez authorities try to preempt more cartel violence in a border city that already has recorded 849 murders this year.

A homicide investigation last week took Chihuahua state police officers armed with a search warrant to a home in the Granjas de Chapultepec neighborhood, where they found a cache of 11 runs and rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, the state Attorney General’s Office said.

The search led to the seizure of four AR-15 type rifles, two AK-47 rifles and five guns ranging from 9mm to .380-caliber. The weapons were in suitcases or wrapped in cloth inside a Jeep parked at the property. Two men, Omar Fernando C.C. and Jose Lorenzo C.C. were arrested at the scene on weapons charges, the AG’s Office said.

Some of the weapons seized last week. (courtesy State of Chihuahua)

On Saturday, state police officers followed a man through the Tierra Nueva neighborhood of Southeast Juarez and finally cut him off at an intersection. A search of his vehicle yielded two high-caliber guns – a .380-caliber pistol and a 9mm converted automatic – and 40 rounds of ammunition, the AG’s Office said.

Jose A.H. faces gun charges in Juarez. (State of Chihuahua)

Jose de Jesus A.H., 43, faces weapons charges, and ballistic experts are examining the 13 guns seized in the two events to determine if they were used in recent homicides, Juarez authorities said.

Mexico has only one gun factory and issues less than 50 gun permits per year. Most guns used in homicides here are allegedly illegally imported from the United States.

Mexican authorities last year sued several American gun makers. A Massachusetts judge threw out that suit late last month but the Mexican government said it would appeal.