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March 16, 2017Nogales, AZ, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives, Contraband

Nogales man sentenced to more than 7 years for attempting to export ammunition into Mexico

TUCSON, Ariz. – A Nogales man convicted of attempting to smuggle more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico has been sentenced to 92 months in prison, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gabriel Rivero, 41, appeared in federal court Tuesday before U.S. Senior District Judge Frank R. Zapata. At the sentencing, Judge Zapata ordered that Rivero will be subject to three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. 

According to evidence presented during Rivero’s December 2016 trial, the smuggling attempt came to light in February of last year when a spare tire fell off the pickup truck Rivero was driving near the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. Initially, Rivero attempted to retrieve the tire, but then he got back into the truck and traveled through the border crossing into Mexico. When U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspected the tire, they discovered more than 5,500 rounds of pistol and rifle ammunition hidden inside. Rivero was subsequently identified using surveillance video from the port of entry and arrested.

“This failed smuggling attempt shows the lengths to which criminal organizations will go in an effort to evade detection and illegally export ammunition to Mexico,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “This case is also an important reminder about the crucial role federal collaboration plays in combating this public safety threat and ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice.”

HSI received substantial assistance with the case from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, in Tucson Angela W. Woolridge.

Updated: 03/17/2017