Local 2 Investigates: Pawn shop draws federal scrutiny

Illegal immigrants, criminals allegedly able to buy guns

Author: Robert Arnold, Investigative Reporter, rarnold@kprc.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 06:26:15 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 15 2013 10:52:49 AM CDT
Cash Cow Pawn Local 2 Investigates
ALVIN, Texas -

A pawn shop in the Brazoria County town of Alvin became the target of a federal investigation led by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Court documents obtained by Local 2 Investigates state that the investigation involved an undercover informant making gun purchases from Cash Cow Pawn of Alvin.

In an affidavit seeking a search warrant, agents wrote that they received information from Alvin police detectives that illegal immigrants and people with criminal records were suspected of being able to purchase guns from an employee of the shop. Agents also stated that they sent an undercover informant who said he had a criminal record and was not a United States citizen in to the shop buy a gun.

Court records read, "The (Confidential Informant) asked (manager) about the question related to one's criminal convictions. (Manager) told the (Confidential Informant) to answer "no" to that question." Court records also read "(Manager) told the (Confidential Informant) to check the box "United States Citizen." Local 2 removed the name of the employee from the preceding quotes because no criminal charges have been filed as of yet.

Agents also wrote that the pawn shop employee was able to get around the FBI's background check designed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals by misspelling the informant's name on federally required paperwork. Court records read that during the transaction the manager also asked the informant if he "was interested in purchasing AK-47s."

Court records said that the informant kept buying guns from the employee until the employee got nervous he was being watched by store cameras. However, agents wrote that the employee told the undercover informant if he brought in someone who could pass the federal required background checks then he would sell the guns to that person.

Local 2 attempted to speak with the employee listed in court records, but received no answer at his home. Business cards were also left at the home and on the windshield of a car parked in the driveway in an attempt to reach the individual.

A man identifying himself as a manager of the pawn shop declined to comment on the raid, citing the on-going investigation. A message left for owners of the shop has also not been returned.

Agents with the ATF said they are still going over all the records and computer hard drives seized during the raid and will make a determination whether charges will be filed after that process is complete.