- Group tried to buy high-powered military weapons for Mexican cartel
- Prosecutors: Conspirators negotiated with undercover U.S. agents
- Man gets 25 years after pleading guilty
A Mexican national who pleaded guilty to trying to buy a Stinger missile and other military weapons for a Mexican drug cartel has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.
David Diaz-Sosa, 27, of Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty in April 2011 to four charges, U.S. Attorney for Arizona John S. Leonardo said in a statement released in Phoenix.
U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg also Wednesday sentenced Diaz-Sosa to five years of supervised release after serving the federal prison sentence, officials said.
The Tucson office for defense attorney Marivel Cantu-Madril said she was not available for comment Thursday.
Three people were charged last year, according to an indictment unsealed in Phoenix. The government said the plot was foiled because the people the alleged conspirators were dealing with were federal undercover agents and a government informant.
"With the confiscation of a significant quantity of methamphetamine and U.S. currency, this operation not only delivered a financial blow to a Mexican drug trafficking organization, but it also prevented further cartel violence by keeping dangerous weapons out of their hands," Leonardo said in a statement.
Court documents say the alleged conspirators' shopping list included: a Stinger surface-to-air-missile; a Dragon fire anti-tank weapon; a Law Rocket anti-tank weapon; and two AT-4 recoilless anti-tank guns. The indictment said the defendants were to pay with cash and illegal drugs.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy began in November 2009 with Diaz-Sosa allegedly acting as the "primary broker" in trying to buy weapons for the Sinaloa drug cartel.
The court filings said the suspects were shown weapons or fakes, but never bought actual arms.
Diaz-Sosa arranged for the delivery of 4.5 pounds of methamphetamine for a down payment, prosecutors said Wednesday. He and another associate were arrested in February 2010 when they exchanged 11 pounds of methamphetamine as a final payment.
Diaz-Sosa pleaded guilty to conspiracy to acquire and export an anti-aircraft missile; conspiracy to possess unregistered firearms and transfer firearms for use in a drug trafficking crime; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
In a court filing, lawyers for Diaz-Sosa said he expressed remorse and regretted putting his family through "this embarrassment."