Norman home searched for possible link with arms trafficking

Norman man suspected of tie to Mexican drug cartels, federal warrant states.
by Matt Dinger Published: September 10, 2013
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— Authorities searched a Norman home for evidence of gun trafficking related to Mexican drug cartels, according to a warrant filed in federal court.

No charges have been filed. It's not clear what if anything was found during the search.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed the search warrant for a home at 808 Nighthawk Drive to investigate possible violations concerning providing false information during a firearms transaction and conspiracy.

The target of the search was Manuel Escarcega, who reportedly lives in the home with his girlfriend.

The majority of firearms purchases were conducted in cash and occurred within days and weeks of each other, the warrant states.

“Escarcega was involved in numerous multiple purchases of firearms that are generally classified as Mexican cartel weapons of choice. Within a two-month period, Escarcega purchased 18 firearms of desirable make and model for drug trafficking organizations,” the warrant stated.

Escarcega had purchased 33 firearms since August 2011, and in 2013 made trips to Mexico at the beginning or ending of every month, according to the warrant.

Customs and border patrol records show Escarcega returning from Mexico days after purchasing firearms in Oklahoma in February, May, June, July and August, the warrant states.

Agents sought to establish a “paper trail” and to recover purchase and travel receipts, notes and records pertaining to firearms sales, as well as guns. Phones and computers were also expected to be seized, according to the warrant.


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by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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