Man admits knowing of illegal cartel AR-15 trade

A man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court for his knowledge of a scheme to ship and assemble guns to drug cartels in Mexico.

Enrique Olivas, 32, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony for knowing about a felony associated with an illegal scheme to send partly assembled AR-15s to Mexican drug cartels.

As part of his plea agreement, the government agreed to drop other charges against Olivas.

Olivas, along with seven others, had been named in a federal indictment from September, 2019, as part of a federal investigation into an operation to illegally assemble and ship guns to drug cartels in Mexico.

From about 2014 to 2018, Andrew Scott Pierson ordered firearm parts and material and would repair firearms to "convert 80% lower AR-type receivers into automatic weapons for use by drug cartels," according to the indictment.

The firearms would specifically be sent to the Cartel Del Noreste in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and the Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generation in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The money generated from the firearms manufacturing plan was sent from Mexico to Laredo, Texas, into a bank account in the names of the defendants and the name of fictitious businesses, according to the indictment.

In addition, Pierson conspired to traffic "ten unfinished, 80% complete, AR-15-type firearm lower receivers bearing counterfeit Colt marks" in 2017 from California to Arkansas, according to the indictment.

Pierson had been indicted on charges of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, attempt to violate the Arms Export Control Act, attempt to violate the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Act.