Leader of International Firearm Trafficking Conspiracy Pleads Guilty in Federal Court

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Mexican national residing in Portland pleaded guilty today for his leadership role in a conspiracy to illegally obtain high-powered semi-automatic rifles and high-grade firearms in and around the Portland area and smuggle them into Mexico for use by the Jalisco New Generational Cartel (CJNG).

David Acosta-Rosales, 51, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.

According to court documents, since at least September 2019, Acosta-Rosales served as the leader of a high-volume gun trafficking cell operating in the Portland area. In this role, Acosta-Rosales received orders and requests for high-powered semi-automatic rifles, high-grade firearms, and explosive devices from co-conspirators in Mexico affiliated with CJNG. Acosta-Rosales received hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate the scheme, recruited numerous straw purchasers to make illegal gun purchases, obliterated serial numbers on the guns, and organized the transfer and transportation of the guns from Oregon to Mexico. In total, the conspiracy involved the transfer of more than 100 guns to Mexico.

On October 6, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 52-count indictment charging Acosta-Rosales and 10 associates with conspiracy, making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, possessing and receiving firearms with obliterated serial numbers, and smuggling goods from the United States.

Acosta-Rosales faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on December 6, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Karin J. Immergut.

As part of his plea agreement, Acosta-Rosales has agreed to forfeit any criminally-derived assets  involved in the commission of his crimes identified by the government prior to sentencing.

Seven of Acosta-Rosales’ co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. The remaining three are pending trial.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.