One of the weapons used in the deadly abduction of four Americans in the Mexican border city of Matamoros earlier this month was purchased in the United States and provided to a Mexican cartel, according to a federal court document.
Roberto Lugardo Moreno was arrested and charged with knowingly conspiring to export or send from the United States a “multi-caliber AR style pistol” for use by the Gulf Cartel, according to the criminal complaint filed Saturday in US District Court in Brownsville, Texas.
Last week, the gun was “recovered by Mexican authorities and linked to an incident involving the murders and kidnappings of US citizens which occurred on March 3, 2023 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico,” the complaint states.
The four Americans were kidnapped as they were driving to a medical appointment, two family members told CNN earlier this month. LaTavia Washington McGee and Eric Williams survived the kidnapping, while Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were killed. Mexican authorities have arrested six people in the kidnapping case.
Lugardo Moreno told investigators he purchased the pistol on October 17, 2019, for individuals that he knew were going to provide the weapon and other guns to a Gulf Cartel figure in Mexico, according to the criminal complaint. During that time, Lugardo Moreno said he received a $100 payment, the complaint states.
Lugardo Moreno also told investigators that he did not apply for a license to export the firearm from the United States to Mexico.
CNN has reached out to the FBI and to Lugardo Moreno’s attorney of record for comment and has not immediately heard back. Lugardo Moreno faced a federal judge Monday and is being held without bond, according to the court docket.
This story was first reported by MYRGV.com.
The next court hearing is set for March 23 at 2 p.m. CT.