Two illegal immigrants pleaded guilty in Texas on Monday to possessing 27,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition along the U.S.-Mexico border, where cross-border weapons smuggling has increased in recent years, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Police in Laredo, Texas, discovered the ammunition after they stopped a Dodge Ram pickup truck that failed to stop at a stop sign in March, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon told U.S. President Barack Obama in April that his country's bloody drug war - which has claimed more than 50,000 lives since 2006 - would not cease until the United States stems the flow of weapons that head south of the Rio Grande.
After the Laredo traffic stop, officers arrested Abraham Garcia-Perguero, 35, and his wife, Maria Isabel Rodriguez-Olivio, 33, both Mexican citizens living as illegal immigrants in Laredo, Magidson said.
Police seized 27 boxes of .223-caliber ammunition - commonly used in AR-15 or M-16 assault rifles - alongside a Glock pistol with 50 bullets, Magidson said.
Garcia-Perguero and Rodriguez-Olivio admitted they picked up the ammunition and Glock bullet magazine from a local gun shop and were going to deliver them to another person waiting outside a strip club, Magidson said. They expected to receive between $400 and $500 for transporting the ammo.
Each faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine for possessing the large ammo cache.
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