Store where Uvalde school shooter got rifle linked to cartel smuggling case

The gun store where Uvalde mass shooter Salvador Ramos picked up an AR-15-style rifle was at the center of an ammunition smuggling case involving the Mexican drug cartel several years ago.

The ammunition case involved Fred Farhat, who owned a boots and jeans store in Eagle Pass. In 2011, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison for conspiring with a man and woman to smuggle the ammunition into Mexico.

The case stemmed from arms-smuggling investigations by Homeland Security Investigations and the ATF in 2009. The agencies partnered to curb the flow of guns from Texas to Mexico, engineered by cartel operatives looking to exploit the state’s thirst for guns and ammo.

In March 2009, agents found that, during three separate transactions within a three-hour period, Farhat paid almost $6,000 cash for more than 10,000 rounds of .223 and 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition.

The ammunition was purchased at Oasis Outback LLC in Uvalde, the gun shop where Ramos got one of the rifles found inside Robb Elementary School after he massacred 21 people there last week.

Farhat transported the ammunition to his business, and repackaged it. He and another man — Ivan Ramos-Gonzalez — then loaded the ammo into Ramos-Gonzalez’ vehicle, in which Noemi Ramos-Gonzalez, Ivan’s wife, was a passenger, the Express reported, citing court records.

He and his married accomplices then tried to drive the ammo across the border into Mexico but crashed with another car before they could make it across the border. The bullets were destined for a Mexican drug cartel.

The wife and Farhat were caught. He was sentenced to five years in prison, while she was sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison. The woman’s husband escaped to Mexico and is still at large.

Oasis Outback did not break the law with the sale, since there is nothing requiring the store to track or report the purchase of bullets.

The general manager of the store told the San Antonio Express-News on Wednesday that his shop is cooperating with police, but declined further comment. He and other store employees declined to speak with a reporter on Thursday about the ammo case.



Leave a Reply