Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mexico says US man smuggled grenade parts

Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police have arrested a U.S. man for smuggling American grenade parts into Mexico, where they were assembled for use by the Sinaloa drug cartel, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office identified the man as Jean Baptiste Kingery, but said he used several aliases. It said Kingery allegedly bought weapons parts and grenade casings in U.S. stores and even over the Internet, and smuggled them into Mexico through the border city of Mexicali.

The office said Kingery was arrested late last week in the Pacific Coast city of Mazatlan, in Sinaloa state, in a raid on a house where five guns were found. He is being held under a form of house arrest.

Police also raided five other homes, and found what appeared to have been facilities for assembling grenades, including gunpowder and grenade triggers, pins and caps.

In April, two men were arrested with 192 grenade casings in Baja California, the state where Mexicali is located. They told police they were part of the grenade smuggling ring, and that led to the detention of another American man, who led police to Kingery, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City would not confirm the man's name, hometown or nationality, citing privacy concerns.

Mexican drug cartels have frequently used hand grenades in battles with police and soldiers, and occasionally against civilians.

On Aug. 14, gunmen tossed a grenade onto a busy tourist boulevard in the Gulf Coast city of Veracruz, killing a man and seriously wounding his wife and their two young children.