Man pleads guilty to gun charges in botched probe

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Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on April 6, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 6 at 11:01 AM

PHOENIX (AP) -- A man who bought two rifles found at the scene of the fatal shooting of a federal agent near the Arizona-Mexico border pleaded guilty Thursday to two felony charges in the federal government's botched gun smuggling investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Authorities say 25-year-old Jaime Avila Jr. was a member of a 20-person ring accused of buying guns and smuggling them into Mexico for use by the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Two AK-47 variants bought by Avila from a suburban Phoenix gun store were found after a 2010 shootout that mortally wounded Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales.

Avila faces up to 10 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is set for June 25.

Two other members of the ring also pleaded guilty Thursday.

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