LAREDO, Texas — A local gun store owner was sentenced Tuesday for conspiring to smuggle firearm ammunition and magazines to Mexico. The sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Robert Jacaman Sr., 60, former owner of Jacaman Guns and Ammo, was sentenced June 24 by visiting U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison to 60 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Jacaman, who pleaded guilty in January, was further ordered to pay a $4,000 fine. As a convicted felon, Jacaman surrendered his federal firearms license, is no longer a firearms dealer and is prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition and destructive devices.
At the hearing, Jacaman testified he is currently blind, in constant physical pain due to a motorcycle injury sustained in 1984 and requires around-the-clock attention. In handing down the sentence, Ellison noted Jacaman had those ailments when he committed the crime and, although sympathetic to his ailments, believed the U.S. Bureau of Prisons could accommodate someone with his medical conditions.
"This sentence is a direct result of the dedicated efforts of HSI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners to create a safer community for the citizens of Laredo and the surrounding area," said HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala. "Seizing illicit weapons and proceeds, and arresting those who attempt to illegally use and smuggle weaponry, is an HSI priority."
"Enforcing the federal firearms laws through a cooperative effort with ATF Industry Operations, as well as Laredo Police Department and Border Patrol, is paramount to our Frontline Strategy of utilizing our resources to have the greatest impact," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder. "While 99 percent of federal firearms licensees abide by ATF regulations, it is paramount that we remain vigilant against the outlier who markets firearms illegally."
According to court documents, Jacaman admitted to unlawfully conspiring with others to fraudulently and knowingly export .223 caliber and 7.62 mm ammunition and high capacity rifle magazines designed to fit AR 15-type and AK 47-type firearms, contrary to the Arms Export Control Act. Several violations Jacaman committed as part of the conspiracy were discussed with federal U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga, who presided over the guilty plea in January.
Jacaman admitted being in direct contact with Oswaldo Roberto Borrego-Ramos, 32, aka "Baldo," of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, during the conspiracy, who negotiated the purchase and delivery of the ammunition and firearm magazines with Jacaman. Borrego-Ramos would then send couriers to deliver cash to Jacaman and others to pick up the items to smuggle them into Mexico. In one instance, Jacaman even advised Borrego-Ramos of an outstanding balance which he had not paid for prior sales.
Another co-defendant, Alejandro Rivera-Ruiz, 39, of Laredo, admitted delivering more than $100,000 in U.S. currency to Jacaman on behalf of Borrego-Ramos. Borrego-Ramos told agents he was working for the "Los Zetas" Mexican criminal organization, supplying them with firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories such as firearm magazines from various sources, including Jacaman.
On March 14, 2012, authorities arrested Mexican nationals Abraham Garcia-Perguero, 41 and Maria Isabel Rodriguez-Olivio, 38, who had just received 27,000 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition from Jacaman's gun store. They admitted they were on their way to deliver the ammunition to an awaiting Mexican truck driver who would smuggle the ammunition to Mexico. They admitted to working for Rivera-Ruiz and Borrego-Ramos.
Borrego-Ramos, Rivera-Ruiz and the two Mexican Nationals have all pleaded guilty and are serving their sentences in federal prison for their respective crimes.
Also sentenced Tuesday were Atanacio "None" Gonzalez-Torres, 45 and Jose Luis Estrada, 25, who also pleaded guilty for their roles in this conspiracy. Gonzalez-Torres and Estrada were ordered to serve 28 and 21 months, respectively, for smuggling goods from the United States. Jacaman's wife, Veronica Jacaman, 43, who was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of failing to record a firearm transaction by a firearms dealer, was sentenced to serve six months and pay a $1,000 fine.
The ammunition and magazines referenced in this indictment were intercepted before being delivered to Mexico.
Jacaman, his wife and Estrada were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Laredo Police Department assisted in the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas, announced the sentence. Assistant U. S. Attorney Jose Homero Ramirez, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.