Two men accused of stockpiling ammunition
December 15, 2011 10:26 AM
Laura B. Martinez
Valley Morning Star
BROWNSVILLE — Two Brownsville men admitted to visiting several
sporting goods stores throughout the Rio Grande Valley, in one day,
to purchase ammunition destined for Mexico, federal court documents
Guillermo E. Villarreal, 37, and Leonico Sanchez, 27, also admitted
this was not the first time they purchased thousands of rounds of
ammunition to be illegally transported across the border, authorities
Villarreal and Sanchez appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Felix
Recio on a count each of illegal export of ammunition. They were
ordered held without bond.
The men will appear in court on Friday for a preliminary examination
and detention hearing.
According to court documents, agents with the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security had a sporting goods store in Brownsville under
surveillance on Monday and spotted Villarreal and Sanchez purchasing
a "large amount" of 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition, which is commonly used
in assault rifles.
The agents then observed Villarreal and Sanchez traveling to and
making similar purchases in Weslaco and Edinburg that same day,
The Brownsville men were followed back to a Brownsville Walmart
parking lot, where they were spotted removing the ammunition from its
packaging and concealing it in the rear cab area of a vehicle
belonging to Villarreal, the documents state.
The agents followed the men to a Brownsville residence and then
approached Villarreal and Sanchez. Both men agreed to go with the
agents to the Gateway Port of Entry to be interviewed.
According to court documents, Villarreal and Sanchez waived their
rights to have an attorney present and provided voluntary statements
to the agents.
They admitted to purchasing 10,000 rounds of ammunition destined for
Mexico and also stated they knew it was illegal to export ammunition
across the border, authorities said.
The men also admitted to committing such an act on at least three
previous occasions, the documents reflect. They stated they made the
purchases for monetary gain, agents said. It is unknown how much
money was involved.