Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parents Say Gun Shop Sold Murder Weapon to Cartel

PHOENIX (CN) - Grieving parents say a Glendale gun shop sold the AK-47s a Mexican drug cartel used to murder their son, a Border Patrolman.

Kent and Josephine Terry sued Lone Wolf Trading Co. and Andre L. Howard, in Maricopa County Court.

Their son, Brian Terry, was murdered in the desert near Rio Rico, Ariz., on Dec. 14, 2010.

Rio Rico is between Tucson and the border town of Nogales.

Glendale, pop. 252,000, is a suburb of Phoenix.

The Terrys say Jamie Avila bought the two AK-47s on Jan. 16, 2010, from Lone Wolf Trading Co., and that the guns "were the only firearms recovered from Brian's murderers."

The complaint continues: "Immediately following Brian Terry's murder, Avila was arrested and charged with illegally purchasing weapons from Lone Wolf as part of a criminal conspiracy orchestrated by Mexican drug cartels to acquire military-grade assault rifles and other high-powered weapons from Arizona gun sellers like Lone Wolf.

"Avila had purchased AK-47 style firearms and other guns from Lone Wolf on at least two other occasions in the previous six weeks, purchasing ten weapons in all, before purchasing the weapons used to murder Brian Terry.

"Avila's purchase of the Brian Terry murder weapons were among dozens of other illegal purchases of firearms from Lone Wolf by Avila, Uriel Patino, Julio Carrillo, Alfredo Celis, Sean Christopher Steward, Jacob Wayne Chambers, Erick Avila Davila, Jonathan Earvin Fernandez, Dejan Hercegovac, Kristi Gail Ireland, Jacob Anthony Montelongo, Joshua David Moore, Danny Cruz Morones, Jose Angel Polanco, Francisco Javier Ponce, Manual Fabian-Acosta, and other illegal buyers on behalf of the cartels in later 2009 and 2010. All of these illegal firearms purchases occurred under extremely suspicious circumstances.

"Patino had introduced Avila to the criminal conspiracy to illegally purchase deadly firearms for the Mexican drug cartels, had accompanied Avila on his first Lone Wolf gun purchase in November 2009, and had bought 10 AK-47 style assault rifles himself on Jan. 15, 2010, the day before Avila's purchase of the weapons used in the murder of Brian Terry.

"Prior to Avila's January 16, 2010 purchase of the weapons used to kill Brian Terry, defendant Andre L. Howard ('Howard') discussed this pattern of suspicious firearms purchases with representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ('ATF'), and ATF confirmed the obvious, that these illegal firearms purchases were being made by 'straw buyers' for Mexican drug cartels.

"But defendants proceeded with the illegal sales to known straw purchasers for the cartels, selling hundreds of weapons and realizing hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from these sales."

The Terrys claim the defendants knew or should have known that Avila's purchases were illegal, that as federal firearms licensees they had a legal obligation to refuse to make illegal gun sales, that they ignored this obligation and sold the guns to the cartels anyway, and that "but for defendants' negligent and illegal sales of dangerous firearms to Avila, Brian Terry would not have been murdered in the Arizona desert on December 14, 2010."

The Terrys claim that in December 2009, the defendants discussed the "illegal straw purchases" with ATF, and that "ATF indicated to defendants that it knew the straw purchases were illegal and that it was surveilling some of the illegal firearms purchasers and purchases as part of its 'Operation Fast and Furious.'

"Defendants, however, knew that ATF subsequently did nothing to arrest the purchasers or otherwise stop the purchases since the same straw buyers continued to make illegal firearms buys."

The Terrys did not sue the United States, nor the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The only defendants are the gun shop, Howard, his Jane Doe Wife, and John and Jane Does 1-5 and Black and White Business Entities I-V.

U.S. government agents lost track of about 1,400 weapons sold to straw buyers in "Operation Fast and Furious," according to news reports.

The Terrys seeks funeral and burial expenses and damages for negligence and aiding and abetting tortious conduct.

They are represented by Patrick McGroder III and Lincoln Combs, with Gallagher & Kennedy, of Phoenix.

Follow @jamierossCNS
Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.