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August 22, 2023Tucson, AZ, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

HSI Tucson, multiagency investigation sends firearms smuggler to prison for 60 months for conspiring to smuggle firearms into Mexico

Defendant assisted in smuggling almost 50 assault rifles and high-capacity semiautomatic pistols from the US into Mexico

TUCSON, Ariz. — A southern Arizona man was sentenced Aug. 15 to 60 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for smuggling weapons from the United States into Mexico following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“Any attempts of weapon smuggling poses significant threats to our communities both north and south of the border,” said HSI Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown. “HSI leveraged resources and valuable assets to include working with our partners throughout this investigation; we are all committed to stopping smuggling activity. Thanks to the hard work and dedication by everyone involved that resulted in the defendant receiving a significant sentencing.”

Victor Coronado Jr., 40, of Tucson, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States.

Coronado was the leader of a conspiracy to smuggle firearms from the United States into Mexico between October 2019 and July 2020. Coronado and his co-conspirators purchased firearms, made false statements to firearms dealers in the acquisition of firearms, provided funds to others for the purchase of firearms, and assisted in smuggling 49 assault rifles and high-capacity semiautomatic pistols into Mexico.

The firearms that Coronado conspired to smuggle are prohibited from being exported from the United States into Mexico without a valid license. Neither Coronado nor any of his co-conspirators had a valid license or any other lawful authority to export the firearms into Mexico.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona in Tucson Brandon Bolling handled the prosecution.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.