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Contraband
06/27/2012

11 indicted in Mexican gun smuggling operation in north Texas

PLANO, Texas – Eleven north Texas residents were indicted for their roles in a scheme to smuggle firearms to Mexico. The three-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury June 13, and was announced Wednesday by U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas.

The following 11 north Texas residents were named in the indictment:

  • Lialo Jourel Benavides, aka ALJ, 29, of Carrollton,
  • Richard Valdes, 40, of Burleson,
  • Joshua Coulter, 33, of Carrollton,
  • Emilio Agron, 40, of Dallas,
  • David Snead, 38, of Arlington,
  • Jose Trevino, 35, of Grand Prairie,
  • Andrew Satterlee, 32, of Lewisville,
  • Eric Palma, 36, of Grand Prairie,
  • Anthony Smith, 45, of Garland,
  • Brian Launius, 22, of Dallas, and
  • Robert Mannix, 52, of Dallas.

In the indictment, all 11 defendants are charged with conspiracy to acquire firearms by falsely representing that the firearms were intended for themselves, when in fact, they were intended for other individuals.

Benavides, Valdes, Coulter, Agron, Snead and Trevino are also charged with structuring the payments for the firearms. To avoid reporting the transactions to the federal government, they are accused of purchasing money orders on the same day at multiple post offices in amounts less than $3,000. Benavides and Palma are also charged with conspiring to smuggle firearms from the United States to Mexico.

All defendants appeared in court this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush. If convicted, each defendant faces up to five years in federal prison for each count with which they are charged.

This case is being investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey M. Batson, Eastern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.