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January 9, 2011Eagle Pass, TX, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

Eagle Pass, Texas, business man sentenced to 5 years for ammunition smuggling

EAGLE PASS, Texas - A local businessman was sentenced on Monday to five years in federal prison for conspiring to smuggle more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico. The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy, Western District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Fred Farhat, 48, the owner of Farhat's Boots and Jeans was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

Farhat pleaded guilty to the charge on Dec. 3. According to court records, on March 31, 2009, Farhat conspired with 34-year-old Noemi Carreon-Gonzalez of Eagle Pass and her husband, Ivan Ramos-Gonzalez, to purchase the ammunition from Oasis Outback L.L.C. in Uvalde, Texas, and ultimately smuggle the ammunition into Mexico. During three separate transactions within a three-hour period, Farhat paid almost $6,000 cash for more than 10,000 rounds of .223 and 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition. Farhat transported the ammunition to his business, and repackaged the ammunition. He and Ivan Ramos-Gonzalez then loaded the ammunition into Ramos-Gonzalez' vehicle. While at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry Bridge #1, he attempted to enter Piedras Negras, Mexico, when Ramos-Gonzalez and Carreon-Gonzalez hit a northbound vehicle making them flee on foot into Mexico. Mexican authorities responding to the scene of the accident recovered all the ammunition, as well as gun magazines and pistol clips from the defendants' vehicle.

In addition to Farhat's prison term, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses ordered Farhat to pay a $1,000 fine and $4,431.10 restitution to the victims of vehicle accident on the Bridge.

On Oct. 8, 2010, Carreon-Gonzalez was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to the same charge. Ramos-Gonzalez, who remains a fugitive, is charged with one count of conspiracy and a substantive count of smuggling ammunition from the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Brady, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.