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Weapons at root of trafficking case were subject of an earlier Center probe

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Three Dallas-area men allegedly bent on supplying weapons to a Mexican drug cartel were dealing in a particular type of gun that was the subject of a recent Center for Public Integrity investigation.

On Wednesday, a federal grand jury in Dallas returned a six-count indictment against Ranferi Osorio, 27, his brother Otilio Osorio, 22, and a neighbor, Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, all from the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Texas. Each is charged with conspiracy and making false statements to a dealer to acquire a firearm – part of a scheme to obtain at least 10 weapons for others, the indictment alleges. Federal authorities had indicated that an informant claimed the weapons were headed for an especially ruthless drug gang known as Los Zetas. It was also revealed that another weapon allegedly bought by Otilio Osorio was used in a February attack in Mexico on two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents; one of the agents, Jaime Zapata, was fatally wounded.

Seven of the 10 guns listed in the indictment are Romanian WASR-10s, which have become a favorite of the Mexican cartels. The WASR-10s, their manufacturer, Romarm SA, and an American-based importer of the weapons, Century International Arms, were the subject of a Center story in late January.