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Woman arrested for trying to smuggle a Barret sniper rifle across the Rio Grande into Mexico

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Photo by Roderick Kise


Xavier Alvarez

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas

Nov. 10—A woman was arrested Monday after Border Patrol agents saw her vehicle approach a raft carrying two people along the Rio Grande and found a .50 caliber Barrett rifle inside.

Elizabeth Santiago, who was born in 1994, was charged with smuggling a firearm without a license or written authorization of such an export.

According to a criminal complaint, agents saw the raft as it docked near Weslaco and noticed a black Ford Edge on Military Highway approach the riverbank.

Agents approached the vehicle and Santiago, the driver, agreed to a search, the complaint said.

They found the rifle in the back seat of the vehicle.

During the investigation, which involved Homeland Security Investigators, Special Agents and Task Force Officers, Santiago told authorities that an unnamed co-conspirator proposed a job offer to transport the rifle from the U.S. to Mexico.

Santiago drove to Hidalgo County to pick up the rifle from another unnamed co-conspirator and then drove to the riverbank to transfer the rifle to someone else.

Santiago admitted that she knew what she was doing was illegal and said she didn’t have a license to transport the weapon.

Authorities confiscated the weapon, and she is scheduled to have a detention hearing on Thursday before Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker.

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