EL PASO, Texas — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging two El Paso residents for scheming to smuggle thousands of rounds of ammunition into Mexico.
This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Sofia Acosta de Caballero, 34, and Edward Navarro, 29, are named in a three-count federal indictment. Each is charged with conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States. Acosta is also charged with two substantive counts of smuggling goods from the United States, and Navarro with one substantive count of smuggling goods from the United States.
The indictment alleges that from January 2015 until January 2016, the defendants conspired to purchase about 80,000 rounds of assorted caliber ammunition on the Internet with the understanding and purpose that this ammunition was to be smuggled to Mexico.
The conspiracy charge also alleges that the defendants purchased several firearms with the understanding and purpose that these firearms were also to be smuggled to Mexico.
On Jan. 13, 2016, federal authorities at El Paso’s Bridge of Americas Port of Entry seized about 4,550 rounds of .38-caliber ammunition discovered inside a car Acosta was driving. At the time, Acosta also possessed a Ruger Model Mini-14 magazine.
Acosta has remained in federal custody since his arrest Jan. 13. Navarro is considered a fugitive.
Waldemar Rodriguez, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso, said HSI will continue to pursue those who present a threat to our national security.
William A. Temple, special agent in charge of the ATF Dallas Field Division, said, “The indictments rendered (Wednesday) are yet another successful example of law enforcement agencies collaborating to combat violent crime. ATF actively works alongside our law enforcement partners to provide investigative expertise and guidance in all firearms- and ammunition-related investigations.”
Upon conviction of the conspiracy charge, the defendants face up to five years in federal prison. Each substantive firearms charge calls for up to 10 years in federal prison upon conviction.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael C. Williams and Steven Spitzer, Western District of Texas, are prosecuting this 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.
Anyone with information about Navarro’s whereabouts is encouraged to report it through the DHS toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE, or by completing its online tip form. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial (802) 872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.