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December 8, 2016Mcallen, TXUnited StatesContraband, Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives

2 South Texas men sentenced to years-long federal prison terms for firearms trafficking

One of the defendants had been awarded the Bronze Star while he was in the military

MCALLEN, Texas — Two South Texas men were sentenced to federal prison terms Thursday for their roles in trafficking firearms to Gulf Cartel members in Mexico.

This sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.  This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); with assistance from the Hidalgo County (Texas) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

Dimas Rodriguez, 44, and Jose Gertudis Partida, 71, both appeared before U.S. Magistrate Micaela Alvarez Dec. 8 ordered Rodriguez and Partida to serve 70 and 30 months in federal prison, respectively.  During the hearing, Partida asked the court for a lower sentence due to his elderly age, lack of criminal record and his prior military service, and being a recipient of the Bronze Star. However, the government argued that a strong sentence was warranted due to his involvement in providing multiple firearms to individuals who either actually exported or represented to export firearms into Mexico for the Gulf Cartel, and his involvement in drug trafficking-related activities. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the charges June 29, 2016; he admitted being a felon possessing a firearm.  Partida pleaded guilty to the charges Aug. 31, 2016; he admitted transferring a firearm to a felon.

In handing down the sentence, the court noted the troublesome connection with an offense involving both drugs and guns.  It was also noted that Partida’s sentence would also serve as a deterrent to those, whether young or old, who are contemplating such criminal actions. Partida will also serve two years of supervised release after he completes his prison term; and he must pay a $30,000 fine.

According to court documents, on Dec. 2, 2015, Partida provided Rodriguez with three semi-automatic firearms. Rodriquez then sold them to an individual who planned to provide the weapons to Gulf Cartel members. At the time Partida transferred the firearms to Rodriguez, he knew Rodriguez had been convicted of the felony offense of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and he was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.

Rodriguez and Partida remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberto Lopez Jr., for the Southern District of Texas prosecuted this case.

Updated: 12/09/2016