An Arizona court dismissed the case against a gun-store owner accused of looking the other way while front men purchased weapons to deliver to Mexico’s drug cartels, the Wall Street Journal reports. The case had been heralded as an example of U.S. authorities working to stanch the flow of weapons to Mexico, where a war among drug gangs is believed to have killed more than 6,000 people.
Prosecutors alleged that more than 700 high-powered rifles were sold by the X-Caliber gun store to purchasers whom the owner, 47-year-old George Iknadosian, should have known were acting as straw buyers for Mexican customers. Sales of most weapons to non-U.S. citizens north of the border are severely constrained, as is gun possession by civilians in Mexico. Maricopa County Judge Robert Gottsfield ruled that the evidence prosecutors presented wasn’t “material.” The judge said that “the state’s case is based upon testimony of individuals who [alleged] that they were the actual purchaser of the firearms when they were not.” He indicated that such testimony, by itself, failed to establish that any additional unlawful conduct transpired. “There is no proof whatsoever that any prohibited possessor ended up with the firearm,” the judge said.