Man accused of trading drugs for machine guns, explosives

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LOS ANGELES — A U.S. citizen living in Tijuana is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Los Angeles on multiple federal charges for allegedly trading heroin and fentanyl for machine guns and explosives.

Pedro Roberto Hernandez-Gomez, 31, was charged Jan. 21 in Los Angeles federal court with possession of machine guns, attempt to transport explosives, being a felon in possession of firearms, distribution of heroin and distribution of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In December, Hernandez-Gomez allegedly agreed to provide heroin and fentanyl in exchange for various machine guns, grenade launchers, grenades and handguns during what he believed were negotiations with traffickers but was, in fact, an ATF sting operation.

On Jan. 7, Hernandez-Gomez came to Los Angeles, where he provided more than two pounds each of heroin and fentanyl and renegotiated the amount of firearms and grenades in exchange for the heroin, according to a federal affidavit.

Hernandez-Gomez allegedly agreed to exchange the narcotics for three Bushmaster machine guns, three grenade launchers, and 72 inert grenades, which he thought were live explosives.

Hernandez-Gomez, a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess firearms, was arrested shortly after loading the firearms into his van, ATF officials said. According to the affidavit, he admitted he had planned to transport the guns and explosives back to Tijuana.

“This is a prime example of the type of violent criminal ATF targets along with the partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Carlos A. Canino, ATF Los Angeles Field Division special agent in charge.

“It is clear these machine guns and grenade launchers were destined for criminal groups in Mexico,” Canino said. “ATF works diligently to stop firearm trafficking schemes so guns do not end up in the hands of criminals, gangs or cartels, and we will continue to do so.”

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