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Firearms, Ammunition & Explosives

South Texas man sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for firearms smuggling

SAN ANTONIO — A South Texas resident was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Friday for his role in an illegal firearms straw-purchasing conspiracy. The investigation was conducted jointly by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Santiago Munoz, 50, a resident of Rio Grande City, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Fred Biery on Dec. 9. Munoz's incarceration will be followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

Munoz pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to make a false statement in a federal firearms record, and two counts of providing a firearm to prohibited persons, namely an illegal alien and a convicted felon. According to court documents, by pleading guilty, Munoz admitted that from August 2006 until February 2007, he conspired with others to fraudulently purchase about 220 firearms. Munoz admittedly purchased the firearms from a licensed firearms dealer at gun shows in San Antonio and Austin. To make the purchases, Munoz either made false written statements on an ATF form, or he simply did not complete ATF Form 4473, as required by law. The false statements included providing fraudulent names and addresses, and failing to disclose that Munoz was serving as a straw purchaser of the firearms.

On Sept. 30, 2011, Munoz's co-defendant, 39-year-old Javier Farias of Mission, Texas, was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge and a false statement charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Roomberg, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.