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Firearms, Ammunition & Explosives

2 south Texas brothers charged with smuggling ammunition to Mexico

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Two brothers were arrested Tuesday for allegedly smuggling more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and hundreds of firearm magazines into Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, Western District of Texas. The investigation is being led by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Richard Hesles Jr., 32, and his brother, Damien Hesles, 22, were arrested without incident and taken into custody. Both brothers are scheduled to have their initial appearance in Del Rio, Texas, Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor Roberto Garcia.

According to court information, the federal grand jury returned the indictment April 4; it was unsealed Tuesday charging Richard with seven counts of smuggling ammunition from the United States, two counts of smuggling firearm magazines and one count of smuggling firearms sights. The indictment also charges Damien with three counts of smuggling ammunition, one count of smuggling magazines and one count of smuggling firearm sights.

The indictment also alleges that between March 15, 2010, and Feb. 17, 2012, the defendants aided and abetted the export or attempted export of the following prohibited items: more than 6,000 rounds of assault and sniper-rifle ammunition (AK-47, AR-15 and .50-caliber), more than 300 assault rifle magazines and 63 magazines for other types of firearms, and firearm sights. The indictment also seeks a monetary judgment against the defendants in the amount of about $100,000 which represents property allegedly used to carry out their illegal scheme.

Upon conviction, each defendant faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment per count.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Galdo and Benjamin Seal, Western District of Texas, are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.