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Texas man linked to trafficking military-grade machine gun to Mexican cartel sentenced to prison

Officials say the man attempted to traffic a military-grade machine gun to a Mexican drug cartel.
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Stock photo of prison cell

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Worth man who officials say attempted to traffic a military-grade machine gun to a Mexican drug cartel was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Daniel Loyola, Jr., 24, pleaded guilty in December 2022 to possession of a machinegun and was sentenced to prison on Friday.

According to court documents, Loyola posted on Instagram that he possessed a potential machinegun, a potential silencer, and a .50 caliber rifle. Federal officials said the post also stated he wished to buy a high-caliber machine gun.

An undercover agent started talking with Loyola after seeing the post. Loyola agreed to purchase an M-60 from the undercover agent for $20,000 cash and mentioned that the payment would be coming from Mexico.

On Oct. 25, 2022, Loyola met with two undercover agents in a parking lot in Fort Worth, DOJ officials said. Loyola handed over the money, and the agents gave Loyola a cardboard box containing an M-60 in three pieces: the frame/receiver and two barrels.

The DOJ said one of the undercover agents explained that the firearm was fully-automatic, and Loyola responded, “yeah, I know.”

After paying over $20,000 in cash for the firearm, Loyola began to take possession of the machinegun and he was immediately taken into custody.

“Thanks to excellent undercover work by ATF and Texas DPS, we have thwarted a firearms trafficker intent on sending dangerous guns to a drug cartel,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “The Justice Department is committed to stemming the flow of firearms across the southern border.”

After being arrested, Loyola admitted that he had purchased the M-60 on behalf of an individual who worked for a Mexican drug cartel. He added that he’d sold multiple firearms to the man before, and that the .50 caliber rifle he’d posted on Instagram was also purchased on the individual’s behalf.

“The fight to keep high powered weapons out of the hands of drug cartels and narco-terrorists is real and here in North Texas," said ATF Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek II. "ATF and our partners are working tirelessly to protect both the citizens of the United States and Mexico from the scourge of violence perpetrated by weapons like this. Mr. Loyola’s ten-year sentence should serve as a warning to others looking to get into the firearms trafficking business."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division and the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Fort Worth Police Department. 

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