Penalties for Selling Guns to the Cartels in Florida

Doing business with criminal organizations is a bad idea. It’s an even worse idea when the criminal organization in question is the subject of constant debate among America’s political class. Almost everyone agrees that Mexican cartels are causing serious issues at the borders while trafficking guns, drugs, and even people. But what are the penalties if you sell firearms to the Mexican cartels in Florida? More importantly, how do you defend yourself in court?

Two Defendants Arrested for Selling Guns to the Cartels

On March 14th, it was reported that two individuals had attempted to sell 90 rifles and one Mac-10 submachine gun to undercover agents in Florida. The Mac-10 is especially illegal, being fully automatic. The rifles included AR-15-style weapons. The individuals also discussed the possibility of obtaining rocket-propelled grenade launchers — commonly known as RPGs. Finally, the individuals made it clear that they also had cocaine available to purchase in large quantities for re-distribution.

The undercover agents informed the defendants that they needed guns to fight a losing battle against rival gangs. After a number of meetings, the defendants arranged to transport an initial shipment of 40 AM-15 multi-caliber rifles to the buyers. Unknown to them, these buyers were actually undercover ATF agents. When the guns arrived, the undercover agents inspected them and immediately arrested the suspects. In later interviews, the two individuals admitted to trafficking firearms.

The individuals were charged with conspiracy to transfer firearms to commit a felony, drug trafficking, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, illegal transfer of firearms, unlicensed firearm dealing, and conspiracy to violate federal gun laws. A conviction on all of these counts would result in life sentences for the defendants.

Potential Defense Strategies

One potential defense strategy in this situation is entrapment. Depending on how aggressively the undercover agents pushed the defendants to deliver the firearms, this could have induced them to commit a crime that they would have otherwise avoided. Keep in mind that these individuals thought they were dealing with dangerous criminals associated with the Mexican cartels. They might have feared for their lives if they backed out of the deal.

In 2016, Canada threw out terrorism charges against a couple that had been induced to engage in a terror plot by undercover agents. The difference was that the agents actually supplied the couple with supplies and instructed them how to build pressure cooker bombs. In contrast, these two defendants supplied their own firearms and actively offered even more serious weapons, such as RPGs.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in Largo, look no further than Trevena Pontrello & Associates. Even if you were doing business with criminal organizations, you still have rights. One of your most important rights is your right to an attorney. Choose the right legal representation, and you can avoid or mitigate many consequences that you might be facing right now. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective defense strategy.


  1. https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/two-arrested-trying-send-over-90-firearms-drug-cartel-members-mexico
  2. https://theintercept.com/2016/08/03/court-throws-out-terrorism-conviction-in-canada-citing-police-entrapment/

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