Four Mesa residents are among eight people facing federal charges as part of a scheme to illegally purchase semiautomatic rifles and smuggle them into Mexico, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment on Monday against the group, which is facing charges of conspiring to export munitions, illegally smuggle goods from the United States and making false statements in acquisition of firearms, the office announced.
The Mesa residents are: Charles Michael Cartwright, 20; Ashley Virginia Boutchyard, 22; Saul Rodriguez, 24; and Aaron Loren Weeks, 23, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The other four people charged in the investigation led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are: Bobbi Jo Elizabeth Chalupa, 41, of Phoenix; Jesus Gutierrez, 46, of Avondale; Adam Wyatt Fuentes, 25, of Surprise; and Olegario Gutierrez-Martinez, 30, of Mexico.
Gutierrez-Martinez remains at large.
If convicted of the charges, the individuals can face up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.