Man pleads guilty to gun charges in botched probe

Thursday, April 05, 2012
Action News

A man who bought two rifles found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a federal agent near the Arizona-Mexico border has pleaded guilty to two felony charges in a gun smuggling case.

Jaime Avila Jr. made the plea Thursday as part of the federal government's botched gun smuggling investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. He pleaded guilty to dealing guns without a federal license and conspiracy to deal guns without a license, make false statements in a gun purchase and smuggle goods out of the U.S.

Authorities say Avila was a member of a ring accused of buying guns and smuggling them into Mexico.

Two AK-47 variants bought by Avila were found at the scene of a 2010 shootout that mortally wounded Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Ariz.

Investigators faced criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers to walk away from shops with weapons, rather than arrest the suspects and seize the weapons there.

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