Smugglers In West Texas Brought Down By Undercover Agents

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Authorities say six West Texas people have been arrested in an investigation of what prosecutors call a high-caliber assault rifle ammunition smuggling operation.

A federal grand jury indicted the manager of the Geneva Loan and Jewelry Co. in El Paso and five of his employees. The indictment unsealed Wednesday says the six conspired to smuggle into Mexico ammunition for assault rifles.

A statement from the U.S. attorney's office said the suspects sold large quantities of ammunition to undercover agents. The rounds were repackaged from their original cardboard boxes into tightly taped bundles for easier smuggling across the border.

The Mexican government has complained that U.S. weapons and ammunition help arm the drug cartels there and fuel the violence that has left more than 35,000 dead since late 2006.