Wednesday, February 22, 2017



Gun-runners sentenced in federal court
Nogales International Feb 17, 2017 (1)

Guns and ammo CBP photo

The second of two defendants convicted of trying to smuggle assault rifles and ammunition into Mexico through Nogales was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in federal prison.

Ariana Alexa Ramirez, 26, of Phoenix, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson after her co-defendant, Andrian Alvarez-Valdez, 23, of Mexico, was previously sentenced to 46 months in prison. Both defendants had pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle firearms and ammunition into Mexico from the United States.

"The lengthy sentences in this case should serve as a warning to those who would consider smuggling firearms into Mexico," Acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange said in a news release.

Prosecutors said that on March 26, 2016, the defendants purchased bulk ammunition at a store in Phoenix. The next day, they were stopped by agents at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry while attempting to drive into Mexico.

Hidden inside their vehicle were two AK-47 style assault rifles, six 30-round 7.62x39 magazines, one 10-round 7.62x39 magazine, nearly 3,000 rounds of ammunition, and a disassembled tripod mount for a .50-caliber machine gun.

Ramirez's two young children were also in the vehicle.

Additional investigation showed the defendants had smuggled weapons and ammunition into Mexico on multiple prior occasions, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The investigation in this case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

"This case is a prime example of the cooperative efforts among law enforcement to stem the illegal trafficking of guns and ammunition into Mexico," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry.


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