Mustard and M16s: Hot Dog Vendor Charged with Gun-Running

| by Michael Allen

Jose "Chepe" Gilberto Ortiz and Guillermo "El Gallo" Gonzalez Castillo were arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Jose on charges of selling weapons and drugs to an undercover agent from their hot dog stand based on a street corner.

According to the indictment, Ortiz is a felon and Castillo is in the United States illegally, making it illegal for either one to possess firearms.

Their hot dog stand came under suspicion in April; that's when a San Jose Police officer went undercover and began purchasing guns from Ortiz: two Smith & Wesson .357 revolvers for $700.

Ortiz, who has previous weapon and drug convictions, later sold the undercover agent a shotgun, a rifle and four pistols and another Smith & Wesson, court documents said.

Police determined that the gun was reported stolen out of Rialto and the shotgun's serial number had been filed off. Ortiz, later, led police to his partner when he suggested Castillo could supply them with a machine gun.

On July 17 at East Julian Street and West Court in San Jose, Castillo sold the undercover agent an AK-47 assault rifle and more than 800 rounds of ammunition for $1,400, court documents say But this time, Castillo delivered his weapons from a baby carriage that he wheeled to the undercover officer's car.

At the last second, the documents allege, Castillo threw in a revolver for $550.

On July 26, Castillo sold the officer two more guns, a rifle and a sawed-off shotgun, and a quarter pound of meth for $3,500.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the case. The suspect's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.