- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

LAREDO, Texas (AP) - Federal prosecutors in South Texas say six people have been sentenced to prison for trafficking in firearms that were smuggled to the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico.

The six were sentenced Friday in federal court in Laredo, with the lengthiest term of five years being handed to 31-year-old Maria Elena Ramos of Rio Grande City. Each of the defendants previously pleaded guilty to firearms offenses.

Authorities say the operation was based out of Zapata from 2009 to 2011. It was discovered as part of an investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering in the region. Authorities say the six sentenced Friday purchased more than 50 firearms, mostly assault rifles, from a gun dealer in Roma. The group also tried to export 3,500 rounds of ammunition to the cartel.

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