Machine gun

Pablo Gonzalez Tavares is accused of trying to bring this machine gun into Mexico through a Nogales port of entry.

A man is facing federal criminal charges after he allegedly tried to sneak a load of guns and ammunition – including a machine gun – into Mexico through Nogales.

Pablo Gonzalez Tavares, a U.S. citizen born in 2001, was arrested on June 4 at the Mariposa Port of Entry.

According to the criminal complaint filed against him at U.S. District Court, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were conducting outbound inspections at the port that day when Gonzalez pulled up in a silver 2006 Honda Ridgeline registered in his name. The officers reportedly thought the vehicle looked weighted down, so they sent Gonzalez for a secondary inspection.

Once in secondary, Gonzalez allegedly made several contradictory statements in which he admitted to having ammunition or firearms, then attempted to recant those admissions. Asked about his travel plans, he said he had picked up the vehicle at a gas station near the port and was on his way to Nogales, Sonora.

The CBP officers “further observed Gonzalez to be nervous with shaking hands when he handed over the keys to the vehicle,” the complaint alleges.

A subsequent search of the Honda turned up an array of weapons and ammunition in the rear passenger area and spare tire compartment. The contraband allegedly included:

• One .30 caliber Browning machine gun with tripod.

• One 5.56 caliber FMK AR-15 rifle with magazine.

• One .40 caliber Sig Sauer pistol with magazine.

• 20 rounds of Remington .223 ammunition.

• 20,000 rounds of .40 caliber Smith and Wesson ammunition.

Gonzalez reportedly waived his Miranda rights and told officers that he was unemployed and had been approached in Mexico by someone he knew only as “Pelon,” who offered him a job smuggling ammunition. He said he expected to be paid $100 per box of ammo and $150 for each firearm.

According to the complaint, Gonzalez said he had met someone unknown to him at a gas station in Tucson and followed the person to a nearby residence. There, several people loaded the Honda with guns and ammunition before Gonzalez drove it to the border. He said someone was supposed to contact him once he arrived in Mexico to recover the weaponry.

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