ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – What started as an investigation into how a gun purchased in Albuquerque ended up at a crime scene south of the border, turned into the feds discovering a potential firearms trafficking dealer. During the course of the ATF’s investigation, agents also learned he could be tied to a dangerous group.

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“If they’re purchasing multiple firearms, then that’s kind of a clue,” said the ATF’s Special Agent in Charge, Brendan Iber. He explained that clue prompts investigations into whether the guns were purchased legally and used legally. It’s what led the agency to start a recent investigation into an Albuquerque man who the ATF said bought 76 guns in four years.

A federal search warrant showed those guns were purchased at stores in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho beginning in 2019, with the man’s most recent purchase in July 2023.

The court document explained they caught onto him after receiving a tip in April 2023 that police in Mexico picked up a gun at a crime scene six months earlier. Through a trace, it stated, Mexican law enforcement officials discovered the gun was purchased by this man in New Mexico. More traces revealed it’s one of five rifles connected to the suspect recovered in that country, according to the search warrant.

While it’s not clear how the guns got over the border, New Mexico’s U.S. District Attorney said this is common. “It’s the same organizations who are the buyers of the firearms going south that are shipping the fentanyl up north,” Alexander Uballez explained.

The ATF said federal traces also showed five other guns purchased by this same man were found at crime scenes in Albuquerque.

In January 2022, Albuquerque Police arrested Gabriel Guevara on accusations he used his smoke shop to traffic drugs. While inside the store, besides large amounts of drugs, investigators also found multiple guns. The search warrant stated one of those was purchased by the suspect.

In March 2022, Albuquerque Police confiscated a gun from Tiana Lozoya after approaching her about riding in a stolen car. The criminal complaint against her said Lozoya told police she bought it “from a guy whose name she couldn’t remember” for $200. The gun was traced back to the same suspect.

The search warrant also included a summary of the ATF’s interview with the man. And it stated he admitted to building and customizing most of the guns. He also said he sold some of them on a website.

ATF agents returned to the man’s home a few days after that interview to execute the search warrant. And that’s when they discovered he may be more than a potential firearms trafficker. The search warrant showed they found evidence — some in a locked safe — that he could be involved with white supremacists or an anti-government group. The search warrant said agents found pro-Naziism literature, as well as manuals on military and survival tactics, among other records.

It’s not clear if the man is facing charges at this time, but the ATF has accused him of trafficking firearms, as well as dealing and manufacturing guns without a license.