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Alleged weapons smuggler in custody

Javier Molina, 18, of Greensboro, N.C., was stopped Nov. 1 by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department near the Mississippi Welcome Center on Interstate 10 for a traffic violation, but eventually arrested on a charge of weapons smuggling.

Sheriff Mike Byrd said Sunday that Molina was stopped in his Black Ford Ranger pickup for an undisclosed traffic violation. It was the same truck stopped in August with weapons inside, Byrd said.

Molina gave permission for a search. Several pistols and ammunition were discovered in the spare tire, Byrd said. He said long rifles and shotguns were wrapped and concealed in the truck frame. Law enforcement officers believe the weapons were headed to a Mexican cartel. Byrd said the arrest was kept under wraps while the Federal Bureau of Investigation rounded up other suspects, whose names were not released. Those suspects were not on the Coast.

Molina, Byrd said, is being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, although he is a legal resident of the United States, Byrd said.