Brevard to Colombia gun-running operation busted
Court documents show that police busted a gun-running operation in which weapons purchased around the state and within Brevard County were concealed in exercise equipment and shipped to Colombia, intended for "persons that are prohibited from possessing firearms."
According to Local 6 News partner Florida Today, investigators determined Julian Roland and Nelson Cartagena packaged guns at their homes and place of employment.
Roland is listed as unemployed, and Cartagena is listed as the owner of All in One Pavers in Rockledge. Documents show Cartagena lives at 1134 Bolle Circle in Rockledge and Roland lives at 202 Sharon Drive in Melbourne. Cartagena, 40, is described as a legal Colombian immigrant, and Roland, 27, is from Costa Rica. ??
Investigators said the duo had a woman bring packages to Orlando to be shipped to Colombia via Miami shipping companies.
A "cooperating witness" told police the woman and Cartagena went to B&H Gun Rack to purchase a .22-caliber Kel-Tec PLR-22 on July 23. The woman picked up the gun the next day and delivered it to Cartagena on Tuesday. Documents show Cartagena intended to ship it to Colombia. ?
Last Saturday, agents in Miami seized a package Cartagena attempted to send to Colombia that contained 15 firearms concealed in exercise equipment, according to officials.. Another package Cartagena shipped was intercepted in Colombia with five firearms inside, officials said.
Cartagena was arrested Tuesday. After waiving his rights, Cartagena spoke in Spanish with a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Documents show he admitted to buying guns in Brevard, packaging them at locations in Rockledge, Melbourne and Cape Canaveral and shipping them to Colombia.
On Wednesday, police searched an apartment on at 211 Caroline St. in Cape Canaveral and found two exercise machines that had about 30 guns inside, according to officials. They later searched Roland's home in Melbourne and found empty Glock boxes, the internal machinery for the exercise equipment, aluminum foil and spray paint, officials said.
Roland was arrested at his home. Court documents show after waiving his rights, he admitted to buying Glocks and exercise machines for Cartagena.
Court documents describe the men's charge as "unlawful 'straw' purchase of a firearm." The men may also face federal charges.