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Firearms, Ammunition & Explosives

Mexican national sentenced to 5 years for recruiting south Texans to illegally purchase firearms, which were smuggled into Mexico

LAREDO, Texas — A Mexican national, who led an international gun smuggling ring, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison for recruiting south Texans to illegally purchase firearms for his organization.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

This case was investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); with the assistance of the Laredo Police Department, and the Webb County Sheriff's Department.

Oswaldo Rafael Borrego-Ramos, aka Baldo, 31, from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo. Eighteen months of this sentence is to be served consecutively to an existing 78-month sentence he is currently serving for another case involving other illegal firearms purchases. He is expected to be deported after he completes his 96-month sentence.

Borrego-Ramos pleaded guilty to the firearms conspiracy March 6. In his guilty plea he admitted recruiting individuals who acquired firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories from stores in Laredo, and then had the items smuggled illegally to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

According to court documents, HSI and ATF began a series of investigations into this firearms trafficking organization and discovered that Borrego-Ramos directed the acquisition and smuggling into Mexico of at least 32 known illegal firearms since 2008. At least 18 people involved in the enterprise have been arrested and prosecuted for their illegal participation.

This investigation involved historical gun purchases, made by co-conspirators, which were then illegally smuggled into Mexico before the federal investigations began. Agents traced at least three of those firearms to crime scenes in Mexico. During this investigation, no firearms were permitted to be exported to Mexico.

Borrego-Ramos has been in custody since his arrest June 26, 2012, where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.