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February 18, 2022Tucson, AZ, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives

Tucson weapons smugglers sentenced to prison following ICE HSI investigation

TUCSON, Ariz. — An Aguila area man was sentenced Monday to 15 months in prison for smuggling weapons from the United States into Mexico following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), special agents from Tucson’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST). U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted in this case.

Alejandro Valles, 27, of Aguila, Arizona, joins his co-conspirator David Alberto Duarte-Marquez, 21, a Mexican citizen was previously sentenced to 33 months in prison – both men pleaded guilty to their offenses.

On Oct. 22, 2018, Valles placed an online order for an M203 40mm grenade launcher barrel. Valles received the barrel and sent the package to another individual in southern Arizona, who then smuggled the barrel into Mexico.

Similarly, on Nov. 26, 2018, Valles’ co-conspirator Duarte-Marquez placed an online order for an M203 40mm grenade launcher barrel with the intent to smuggle it into Mexico. Duarte-Marquez had the barrel shipped to Valles. Once Valles received the barrel, he intended to follow the same steps of sending the package to southern Arizona so it could be smuggled into Mexico. However, the second barrel was intercepted by law enforcement while it was en route to Valles.

Angela W. Woolridge, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and 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 over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 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.

For up to date information related to human smuggling in Arizona, follow HSI on twitter @HSIPhoenix.