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Police: Two men buying rifles for Mexican cartels arrested in Phoenix

Posted: 2:30 PM, Oct 20, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-20 20:30:22Z

Phoenix police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm teamed up to arrest two men for purchasing rifles to sell to Mexican drug cartels.

Court records show that two men came to Phoenix from Nogales to buy multiple rifles intending to sell them to Mexican drug cartels.

Phoenix police report that they received information from ATF that two men were traveling from Nogales to the 'Mo Money Pawn Shop' to purchase firearms that were placed on layaway.

An ATF agent was at the pawn shop, near 12th Street and Indian School Road on October 13, and reportedly witnessed 24-year-old Brandon Isias Mankel purchase three 'Colt M4 rifles.'

Phoenix police followed the car and stopped it near 7th Street and Camelback Road.

In processing the vehicle, authorities found the three rifles, four cellular phones and various amounts of heroin and marijuana. Another man in the car, 25-year-old Julio Cesar Morales, was reportedly the man responsible for bringing Mankel to Phoenix and giving him the money to make the purchase.

They were to get $200 per firearm from the cartel. Police say upon their arrest, Mankel admitted to falsifying ATF forms to purchase the guns. Morales also allegedly admitted to being paid by the cartel for driving Mankel to and from Phoenix and would be the one transporting the weapons across the U.S.-Mexican border in Nogales.

Both have been charged with weapons misconduct charges.