A 51-year-old man, David Acosta-Rosales, was sentenced to three years’ supervised release after his prison term; with 75 months in prison. He was arrested and charged after leading a conspiracy illegally purchasing firearms in Portland and smuggling them to Mexico for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. On October 6, 2020, a Portland grand jury indicted Acosta-Rosales and 10 others with charges including conspiracy, possessing and receiving firearms with obliterated serial numbers, and smuggling goods from the U.S. Seven co-conspirators pleaded guilty. Five were sentenced and two are pending sentencing. Three others are pending trial.
According to court documents, since at least September 2019, Acosta-Rosales served as the leader of a hierarchical gun trafficking cell operating in the Portland area. In this role, Acosta-Rosales managed several co-conspirators who served as high-volume straw purchasers and recruiters of new straw purchasers. These associates would also oversee and liaise with lower-volume straw purchasers, who would, in turn, pass the guns they acquired back up to Acosta-Rosales’ direct reports. Acosta-Rosales received hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate his scheme and recruited numerous straw purchasers to make the illegal gun purchases. One of Acosta-Rosales’ first recruits was his own young son who later withdrew himself from his father’s criminal enterprise.
In total, Acosta-Rosales facilitated the illegal purchase and transfer of approximately 150 guns to Mexico. He also acquired a grenade launcher and a .50 caliber tripod-mounted semi-automatic firearm that he intended to transfer to Mexico, but was arrested by federal agents before he could do so. Acosta-Rosales faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on December 6, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Karin J. Immergut. As part of his plea agreement, Acosta-Rosales has agreed to forfeit any criminally-derived assets involved in the commission of his crimes identified by the government prior to sentencing.
“This case represents two important public safety issues. First, no state, regardless of its location and proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, is beyond the reach of violent drug cartels. International drug trafficking may feel to most Americans like a distant, geopolitical issue with little connection to our own communities, but this could not be further from the truth. Second, every day across the U.S., drug traffickers and other criminals manipulate the legal process for obtaining firearms from licensed dealers in the U.S., of which there are hundreds of thousands,” Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the case. “ATF will tirelessly investigate anyone who traffics in firearms,” ATF Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson said.