'I made a bad decision': Texas police recruit secretly helped arm Mexican drug cartels

Article author: 
Beth Warren
Article publisher: 
Louisville Courier Journal
Article date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Article category: 
National Issues
Article Body: 

Pedro Cruz Almeida Jr. pleaded guilty in April to smuggling .50-caliber ammunition for belt-fed machine guns, which some federal agents describe as "weapons of war," to couriers headed to Mexico.

"The cartel violence you see on TV or read about in the paper, this fuels that," said Craig Larrabee, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in South Texas.

"That gives an advantage to the cartels over legitimate law enforcement in gun battles."

Almeida's case illustrates the constant flow of weapons and ammunition − dubbed the "iron river" − smuggled from the U.S. into Mexico to arm the violent cartels. Cartel members call it "hormiga," Spanish for "ant," referring to an ant trail of weapons.

In court, federal prosecutor Lee Fry called the bullets that . . .