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  3. Mexican National Sentenced for Trying to Smuggle Ammunition and Dozens of Firearms to Mexico

Mexican National Sentenced for Trying to Smuggle Ammunition and Dozens of Firearms to Mexico Following HSI Rio Grande Valley, Federal Partner Investigation

Release Date: June 12, 2024

McALLEN, Texas — A Mexican citizen was sentenced for attempting to smuggle multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition on a vehicle roof rack following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Jose De Jesus Pena Dieguez, 68, was sentenced by a federal judge June 11 to serve two years in federal prison immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Dieguez had previously exported firearms to Mexico on several prior occasions. Dieguez pleaded guilty March 27.

“HSI special agents are committed to combating the illegal smuggling of firearms and ammunition that fuel violence both domestically and abroad,” said HSI Rio Grande Valley Deputy Special Agent in Charge Mark Lippa. “The successful outcome of this case is a direct result of the steadfast efforts of federal agents to prevent firearms from falling into the hands of transnational criminal organizations that pose a threat to public safety both here and abroad.”

According to court documents, on Jan. 11, Dieguez attempted to enter Mexico through the Progreso Port of Entry in a Nissan Xterra. Upon inspection, authorities noticed tampering on the screws of a compartment connected to the vehicle's roof rack. An X-ray examination also showed anomalies within the compartment. A subsequent search revealed 16 firearms, 31 firearm magazines, assorted firearm parts and 800 rounds of ammunition. Dieguez admitted he purchased the firearms and intended to illegally export them to Mexico.

Dieguez remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cahal P. McColgan, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages the public to report allegations of cross-border weapons trafficking through its toll-free Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. Callers may remain anonymous.

Last Updated: 06/13/2024
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