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Firearms, Ammunition & Explosives

South Texas mother sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for attempting to smuggle ammunition into Mexico

LAREDO, Texas — A South Texas woman was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison for attempting to smuggle 60 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition into Mexico, announced 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); and the Laredo Police Department.

Senior U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen also sentenced Yvonne Garcia Inocencio, 32, of Laredo, Texas, to a three-year term of supervised release after she completes her prison sentence.

According to court documents, on Feb. 26, Garcia Inocencio was driving into Mexico with her two minor daughters when she was pulled over for a closer inspection at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge. During the inspection, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered eight high-capacity AR-15 assault rifle magazines hidden within the fender wall of her vehicle. Resistant to arrest, Garcia Inocencio handed her purse to one of her daughters and instructed her to cross the bridge to Mexico to meet her father. However, CBP officers refused to allow the children to leave, and seized the mother's purse. The purse was searched and contained three boxes of new .223 caliber ammunition, which is the same type of ammunition for the rifle magazines. Officers also found a receipt from a Laredo store showing that all the items were bought the same day. Garcia Inocencio pleaded guilty on May 16.

This case was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative. This funding is used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime and develop and promote community outreach efforts. It also supports other gun and gang violence reduction strategies.

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