PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Phoenix Police arrested a husband and wife who they say purchased a .50 caliber sniper rifle with the intention of exporting it to Mexico and the Sinaloa Cartel.
According to court paperwork, on March 20 just after 6:00 p.m., Erica Ibaraalarcon, 22, was observed purchasing the Barrett 82A1 rifle at a federal firearms licensed dealer in Phoenix for $10,316. The rifle was then placed in the back of her vehicle.
Officers said they contacted her in the area of Seventh Street and Bethany Home Road after viewing a traffic violation and asked if there were any firearms in the vehicle. Erica's husband, Jonathan Ibaraalarcon, was driving the car. Police say the couple stated the rifle was in the back of the car and officers secured it.
Per the police report, "Post Miranda, both Erica and Jonathan stated they purchased the rifle for another person and lying on the federal paperwork in order to buy the firearm. Jonathan stated he was given $13,000 to purchase the rifle and would be allowed to keep the remainder of the money as payment. Jonathan admitted the firearm would be going southbound to Mexico and the Sinaloa Cartel."
On the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form 4473, police say Erica stated the firearm was for her and provided a fraudulent current address.
"Jonathan stated he was asked to straw purchase the rifle approximately one week prior. He shopped around on the internet and decided to have Erica purchase the rifle at the Phoenix FFL," per the police report.
Gun experts say that this could have been a dangerous weapon in the hands of a cartel.
"The kick is enormous and incredibly loud to shoot," said Anthony Enriquez, who adds that it packs a punch. "Basically a round that's made to go through walls, go through steel, go through almost anything you would consider impenetrable."
The rifle is also a preferred weapon for cartels.
"They'd be using it against their own military, against advisers, like the United States of America would be using or sending over there," said Enriquez.
Police say the rifle was recovered and impounded as evidence, along with the ATF form 4473. The Ibaraalarcons face misconduct with weapons-trafficking, forgery and sell/provide weapon for a felony charges. The ATF is looking into whether there will be any federal charges filed.