4 accused in Valley gun smuggling investigation - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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4 accused in Valley gun smuggling investigation

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Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 1:26 pm

Three Tempe residents accused of fraudulently buying guns from dealers throughout the Valley so they could smuggle them to Mexican drug cartels are facing federal charges.

Edward Hossa, 54, Jeremy Ray Hossa, 36, and Lynda Marie Yarrow, 26, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of fraudulently purchasing firearms from licensed gun dealers in Apache Junction, Mesa, and Glendale, according to information from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Edward Hossa, who also is accused of illegally attempting to export the guns to Mexico without a dealer’s license, purchased a number of firearms from dealers from July through November, and Jeremy Hossa, Yarrow and Luis Gabriel Valenzuela, 36, of Phoenix, are accused of acting as “straw purchasers” in an attempt to buy the guns on the elder Hossa’s behalf, according the ICE.

ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began conducting an investigation into the group of four suspects before recently executing search warrants at six residences throughout the Valley.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, Edward Hossa enlisted Jeremy Hossa, Yarrow and Valenzuela to purchase the firearms on his behalf.

Authorities say Jeremy Hossa bought four rifles and one handgun in Apache Junction in September and Yarrow purchased two handguns in Mesa in November so Edward Hossa could smuggle them into Mexico. Valenzula is accused of buying five handguns in July and November at two different stores in Glendale, according to information from ICE.

Thursday’s arrest was not Edward Hossa’s first run-in with the law, according to Maricopa County Superior Court records.

Hossa, who owns Alpha Omega Plumbing, was arrested by Chandler police in 2003 on suspicion of three counts of marijuana and cocaine-related charges, but the case was later dismissed, according to court records. During the proceedings, prosecutors had introduced information to the court that Hossa also had prior cocaine-related convictions in Illinois in the late 1970s.

In May 1977, Hossa was arrested for the sale of cocaine and convicted the following January. Two months later, in March 1978, Hossa was arrested on suspicion of distributing cocaine and carrying firearms during the commission of a felony and was convicted the following July, according to county court records.

In a statement issued by ICE, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said, “Weapons smuggling rings fuel the violence south of the border. Straw purchasers disregard the consequences for the allure of the quick cash. They can’t claim ignorance to their direct contribution to the bloodshed. These arrests are proof that our office along with ICE and ATF are committed to shutting down these organizations and interdicting southbound weapons.”

CONTACT WRITER: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

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