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02/10/2014

2 brothers from central Texas found guilty of smuggling ammunition into Mexico

Men were attempting to smuggle more than 15,000 rounds of ammunition for assault rifles

SAN ANTONIO — Two brothers from central Texas were found guilty Friday on multiple counts of smuggling ammunition into Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney, Robert Pittman, Western District of Texas.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Border Patrol and the FBI.

Jesus Cardenas, 23, and Luis Cardenas, 34, both of New Braunfels, Texas, were found guilty after a three-day trial for attempting to smuggle ammunition and magazines into Mexico.

According to court documents, evidence presented during the three-day-trial showed that on two separate occasions between November 2011 and January 2012, Jesus Cardenas purchased, on behalf of an individual in Piedras Negras, Mexico, a total of more than 15,000 rounds of ammunition and 400 assault rifle magazines intended for illegal export to Mexico. Furthermore, his brother, Luis Cardenas, was paid to transfer the ammunition to an individual who then transported it to Del Rio, Texas.

On Dec. 1, 2011, Border Patrol agents seized part of the ammunition along with 23 assault rifles within yards of the Rio Grande outside Del Rio, Texas. HSI seized additional ammunition and magazines in January 2012.

Both Cardenas men remain in custody pending sentencing. Each charge of conviction calls for a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is tentatively set for Aug. 14 before U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio, Texas.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lewis Thomas and Patrick Burke, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.