Oklahoma Man Gets 12 years for trafficking firearm parts to cartel

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By John Dobberstein, Editor

An Oklahoma man has been sentenced to  12 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy that resulted in the trafficking of firearms to Mexican cartels.

Andrew Scott Pierson, 46, of Jay, Okla. was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller.

According to federal prosecutors, in May 2017 an Arkansas resident received a shipment of firearm components that had been sent to him for cerakoting, a process in which a polymer-ceramic coating is added to a firearm or its parts to improve durability.

The parts appeared to be 80% Colt lower receivers, and this individual recognized these firearm parts as counterfeit and contacted law enforcement.

The counterfeit receivers were traced to an organization in Laredo, Texas, which was transporting firearm parts to Pierson in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Pierson assembled the parts into functioning weapons for the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).

Pierson was arrested at the southern U.S. border in 2018. Pierson admitted to ordering and receiving firearm parts from the U.S. and manufacturing automatic weapons in Mexico for the CDN and CJNG cartels.

Law enforcement later confirmed cartel firearm availability was impaired following Pierson’s arrest.

In 2019 a federal grand jury indicted Pierson and seven others for their involvement conspiracies to traffic in counterfeit goods and to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Five codefendants have previously pleaded guilty, and one co-defendant remains a fugitive.

In November 2021, Pierson pleaded guilty to Count 2 of the Fourth Superseding Indictment, conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Essential support and coordination for Operation Thor’s Hammer was supplied by Special Operations Division (SOD) personnel, including assigned agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and attorneys from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Pine Bluff Police Department were also instrumental in the investigation, with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anne Gardner.

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