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2 south Texas men sentenced to 30 years and 27 years in federal prison for gun/ammunition smuggling

DEL RIO, Texas – Two south Texas men were sentenced Thursday to 30 years and 27 years in federal prison on federal firearms charges, announced U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, Western District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), together with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In addition, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses ordered Hector Guevara II, 23, and Juan J. Rodriguez, 26, to also pay a $3,000 fine and be placed under supervised release for three years after they complete their prison terms.

According to information provided in court, Guevara and Rodriguez were the leaders of a criminal group of seven individuals that picked up guns and ammunition in Dallas and Austin, Texas, and then smuggled them into Mexico through Eagle Pass, Texas. On July 25, 2010, agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 20,000 rounds of assault rifle and 9mm ammunition in a single load.

In October 2011, Guevara and Rodriguez pleaded guilty to two counts of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of being a convicted felon possessing a firearm/ammunition.

By pleading guilty, Guevara admitted that on July 25, 2010 he attempted to export to Mexico about 12,550 rounds of .223-caliber and 8,350 rounds of 9mm ammunition through the Eagle Pass Port of Entry. Guevara was sentenced to 360 months in prison. Rodriguez admitted that in July 2010 he conspired with others to export two AR-15 assault rifles into Mexico through the Eagle Pass Port of Entry. Rodriguez was sentenced to 324 months in prison. At the time of the offenses, both defendants were convicted felons, having previously been convicted in federal court in Del Rio for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

All seven members of the criminal enterprise have pleaded guilty in connection with this investigation. Four have already been sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from 30 months to 77 months. The final defendant, 19-year-old Prisila Cruz of Eagle Pass, is scheduled to be sentenced March 27.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Seal, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.