HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The weapon used in the killing and kidnapping of U.S. citizens in Matamoros is linked to a Rio Grande Valley man, federal court documents show.
The complaint says the Diamondback AR-15 was originally bought by Roberto Lugardo Moreno, of Harlingen, in October 2019.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by ValleyCentral, investigators with the Department of Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives questioned Lugardo about the purchase on Friday.
“Moreno admitted to purchasing this and other firearms for individuals that he knew were going to provide them to a Gulf Cartel figure in Mexico,” the complaint stated.
He was reportedly paid $100 for all the purchases.
On March 14, Homeland Security Investigators in Harlingen learned that the same AR-style rifle had been recovered by Mexican authorities and linked to the murders and kidnappings of U.S. citizens on March 3 in Matamoros.
The court records show Moreno did not apply for a license to export any firearms from the U.S. He also admitted to authorities that he knowingly purchased the AR-style rifle knowing that it would be exported to a Gulf Cartel figure in Mexico without a proper license.
He is being held without bond and has requested an attorney. A detention hearing is scheduled for Moreno at 2 p.m. CDT Thursday before Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan.