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Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
12/14/2017

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Last of 6 South Texas firearms smugglers sentenced to more than 4 years in federal prison

Defendant was smuggling AR-15s and AK-47s semi-automatic rifles

LAREDO, Texas — A South Texas man was sentenced Thursday following his convictions for his role in smuggling firearms from the United States into Mexico.

This sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Southern District of Texas. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). 

Ruben Arnoldo Madrid, 21, from Laredo, was sentenced Dec. 14 by U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  On June 2, 2017, Madrid pleaded guilty for his role in smuggling firearms into Mexico.

According to court documents, Madrid participated in a scheme to purchase from various local firearms dealers civilian variants of firearms currently issued to military forces. Between March and November 2016, Ruben Madrid’s brother, Juan Diego Madrid, 27, of Laredo, directed several individuals from Laredo to purchase the firearms, including: Rolando Armando Madrid, 21, (Ruben’s twin brother), Edward Alexander Duenas, 20, and Francisco Xavier Martinez, 25. The firearms were then transferred to Erik Villasana, 20, also of Laredo, who arranged for the firearms to be smuggled into Mexico. Ruben and Rolando Madrid initiated the scheme, after their older brother, Juan, took over the operation. The court noted that Ruben Madrid personally purchased nine firearms out of 36 firearms identified by law enforcement as sold during the operation. Three of the 36 firearms have since been recovered in Mexico.

The “straw purchasers” bought AR-15 and AK-47-type semi-automatic rifles, Beretta 92FS and DPMS AR-type rifles from Academy and Kirkpatrick Guns & Ammo stores in Laredo and San Antonio. Juan Madrid then purchased the firearms from the straw purchasers, and then resold them at a profit to Villasana who then arranged for the firearms to be smuggled into Mexico. Juan Madrid was already a convicted felon and was prohibited from purchasing, owning or possessing firearms.

On Nov. 16, 2017, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña sentenced Juan Madrid to 65 months in federal prison.  Rolando Madrid, Villasana, Duenas and Martinez received respective sentences of 51, 63, 27 and 41 months in prison.

Ruben Madrid was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Homero Ramirez and Liza Ezra, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.  

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/15/2017