FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Naples, Fla., woman was found guilty last Friday in U.S. District Court of illegal gun exports to Honduras following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigation.
Jenny Mejia de Hernandez was found guilty on a five-count indictment charging her with conspiracy and substantive counts related to delivering firearms to a common carrier for export and exporting firearms to Honduras. Sentencing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn for May 29, 2009. Two of Mejia de Hernandez's brothers, Mario and Dixon Mejia, were also named in the indictment and are fugitives.
According to the evidence presented during trial, from December 2006 through March 2008, Mejia de Hernandez and her two brothers traveled to Miami and purchased more than 100 high-powered firearms from Miami-area gun dealers. The majority of the family's purchases were of a pistol version of the AR-15 assault rifle and the sidearm accompaniment to the FN PS90, a weapon designed to fire a round capable of piercing body armor. These weapons can be sold in Honduras for several times their purchase price in the United States.
The case was initiated when, acting on information provided by a local federally licensed firearms dealer, ATF and ICE special agents searched a sofa delivered by Mario Mejia to a Miami area cargo shipper. Agents found seven firearms hidden inside the sofa. After discovering the weapons, agents alerted Honduran law enforcement officers, who seized an additional three firearms from a television shipped through the same company.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott M. Edenfield, Kelly S. Karase, and James M. Koukios.
ICE's Counter Proliferation Investigations Unit is responsible for investigating the illegal export of U.S. military products and sensitive technology. Since early 2006, ICE doubled the number of agents assigned to the unit, resulting in record numbers of violators being brought to justice.