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A San Antonio army veteran has pleaded guilty to illegally selling dozens of automatic rifles to a Mexican cartel.
Sgt. Julian Prezas, a former army recruiter, sold 13 AR-15s, at least 50 AK-47s and a shotgun to a representative from the Gulf Cartel over the course of a year, according to Prezas' plea deal in federal court. He pleaded guilty this week to five counts of lying on federal firearms forms and attempting to export defense articles to Mexico. Prezas also recruited three other former members of the military to buy the guns he intended to sell, forcing them to lie about who the guns were for on legal forms. All three have also pled guilty to these charges.
The cartel member (who remains unnamed) had originally found Prezas through a Facebook group ("RGV guns"), where Prezas had posted he had 1,000 magazines of ammunition for sale. After buying the ammo, the man met with Prezas at least five times over the following two months to purchase more than sixty different guns. At least one time, Prezas used a government vehicle to deliver weapons to the cartel smuggler.
The smuggler said he'd openly discussed exactly where the weapons were going and how he'd have to illegally smuggle them over the border to get there — which Prezas didn't deny. Shortly after his arrest, he told the feds that the firearms were probably going to a "cartel or something."
Prezas’ lawyer, George Dombart, told the Express-News
that his client had simply misunderstood state and federal gun laws.
“Sometimes, the line gets blurred on public versus private sales,” Dombart said. “Once he became aware that his conduct was illegal, he accepted responsibility.”