A then-DEA supervisor sold semi-automatic rifles to cartel associates

Joseph Michael Gill, then a DEA special agent, was lauded in a Nogales International news report on the Nogales Rotary Club's 2015 awards ceremony for outstanding lawmen

Agents spying on Sinaloa Cartel associates traced two of their high-powered, semi-automatic rifles to a surprising source – a supervisor with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Joseph Michael Gill, tasked with rooting out traffickers amid America’s deadliest drug crisis, likely helped arm them during some of his 645 sales transactions on, according to court records.

The veteran lawman – previously trusted to lead a team of about a dozen agents – even advertised on Gunbroker and Backpage websites using his government-issued phone number. 

In a rare interview in February, Gill talked to The Courier Journal about the scandal and his ensuing 2018 resignation from the DEA, halting his 15-year career.

Gill insists he did nothing wrong and said his case highlights a collision of overzealous regulators and ambiguous gun laws. The prosecutor says Gill knowingly evolved into a prolific gunrunner and his crimes are more indicative of how Americans, driven by greed, help arm dangerous criminals in the U.S. and cartels across the border.

More:How cartels use TikTok to entice young people into crime

More:DEA agents intercept $8 million in dangerous drugs headed to Kentucky

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