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May 3, 2023Laredo, TX, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

Man convicted of trying to export ammunition into Mexico after HSI Laredo investigation

LAREDO, Texas — A Texas man pleaded guilty Tuesday to smuggling close to six thousand rounds of ammunition from the United States into Mexico. This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the Laredo Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

On May 2, Jesus Alberto Olivarez, 32, admitted to attempting to export 5,680 rounds of assorted pistol ammunition.

“HSI, with law enforcement partners, is dedicated to making communities safer by bringing criminals to justice and seizing ammunition before it falls into the wrong hands,” said HSI San Antonio acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “HSI will continue to aggressively investigate those who attempt to circumvent our nations customs laws by concealing illicit goods destined to cross our borders.”

According to court documents, on Feb. 27, Olivarez drove his black PT Cruiser to the Lincoln Juarez International Bridge on his way home to Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Authorities noted one of the vehicle’s doors seemed unusually heavy and rattled as if something was hidden in it. A subsequent search of all four of the PT Cruiser’s door panels yielded a total of 5,680 live rounds of pistol ammunition in assorted calibers, including 3,600 rounds of .40-caliber S&W, 900 rounds of .380-caliber ammunition, 900 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition, 100 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition, and 180 rounds of .38 SPL +P ammunition. Olivarez admitted that he agreed to smuggle the ammunition into Mexico and had just received the ammunition a few hours prior. He personally hid the ammunition in the vehicle’s door and rear panels.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will sentence Olivarez Aug. 9. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

He remains in custody pending that hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez of the Southern District of Texas is prosecuting the case.

“All too often, the smuggling of illegal firearms and ammunition to Mexico is used to fuel a scourge of violence that threatens law enforcement and security officials, as well as the communities they serve,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “To protect our law enforcement partners and the people of both our nations, the Justice Department will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to stop those who would traffic illegal guns and ammunition to Mexico.”

“Olivarez was about to drive into Mexico with almost 6,000 rounds of live ammunition until the expertise and keen ear of a law enforcement officer thwarted his plan,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Alamdar S. Hamdani. “Stopping the illegal flow of firearms and ammunition into Mexico saves lives and will always be a priority of the Southern District of Texas and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners.”

HSI is the principal investigative arm of 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.