UPDATE: Man accused of selling firearms to cartels acquittedPosted: Updated:
UPDATE on 3/18:
PHOENIX - It was a stunning victory in court for a Phoenix gun shop owner who was accused of supplying weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
George Iknadosian, 47, was acquitted of all 17 weapons charges against him.
Prosecutors claimed Iknadosian sold assault rifles and other weapons from his X-caliber gun shop to third buyers who would then take the guns south of the border.
The judge in the case granted a defense motion to acquit mid-trial, ruling prosecutors simply did not make their case.
ORIGINAL: PHOENIX - The trial began Monday for a Valley gun store owner accused of knowingly selling weapons to be smuggled across the border and directly into the hands of powerful Mexican drug cartels.
It was an arsenal fit for a small army for an army of drug lords. ATF agents say that is where the guns may have ended up had they not stopped it in a May 2008 raid on the X-Calibur gun store in north Phoenix.
The shop's owner, Egyptian native George Iknadosian, was arrested on the spot.
Iknadosian is now on trial because ATF agents say some of the weapons used in deadly border shootings were traced back to his store. He is accused of operating a criminal syndicate, forgery, money laundering and fraud and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Simon Wallace, manager at Arizona Tactical Firearms in Tempe, says that while he is very strict about who he does business with, he also knows smugglers are savvy and can get around the system.
Wallace explains, "If they're a private sale or something like a gun show or somebody has a whole collection they want to get rid of and post it in the newspaper or online, that's when you can end up in a situation with firearms that are relatively untraceable."
According to the ATF, roughly 90% of the weapons smuggled across the border come from the United States, including California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.