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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Mexican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering to Buy Ammunition Following HSI Rio Grande Valley, Federal Partner Investigation

Mexican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering to Buy Ammunition Following HSI Rio Grande Valley, Federal Partner Investigation

Release Date: July 1, 2024

McALLEN, Texas — A Mexican citizen pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to launder money related to the purchase of over 2 million rounds of ammunition following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and its federal law enforcement partners.

Erving Alberto Sauceda aka Alberto Lizarraga Barrera, 34, pleaded guilty June 28.

“This case demonstrates yet again the lengths to which smugglers will go in an effort to conceal their contraband,” said HSI Deputy Special Agent in Charge Mark Lippa. “This seizure, subsequent investigation, and prosecution highlights the fine work federal border security agencies perform each day, often behind the scenes and often unknown to the public. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate those who attempt to circumvent our nations customs law by concealing illicit goods destined to cross our borders.”

According to court documents, Sauceda admitted to conspiring with others to smuggle currency and monetary instruments from Mexico into the United States. Sauceda and his co-conspirators planned to place large scale ammunition orders through various internet retailers.

He admitted that he and others purchased approximately $1,057,464 worth of ammunition and magazines from approximately August 2021 through the time of his arrest in April, including 1,760,010 rounds of 7.62x39mm; 278,000 rounds of .223; 111,000 rounds of 5.56; 30,000 rounds of .308; 1,000 rounds of 9mm; and 504 AK rifle magazines.

The items were shipped to various locations in the Rio Grande Valley for unlawful export to Mexico.

Sauceda admitted he knew the ammunition and magazines were purchased for the purpose of illegal smuggling from the United States to Mexico, in violation of federal law.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane will sentence Sauceda Sept. 12. At that time, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 fine.

Sauceda remains in custody pending sentencing.

“Smuggling millions of rounds of ammunition into Mexico is astounding and historic, even for the Southern District of Texas — a district that is ground zero in the battle against Mexico’s cartels and the illicit supply of firearms and ammunition to cartels,” said U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. “This prosecution holds accountable the individuals and transnational criminal networks financing and smuggling firearms and ammunition into Mexico. Today’s guilty pleas are a result of the close partnership between federal and state law enforcement.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Roberto Lopez Jr. is prosecuting the case.

Last Updated: 07/02/2024
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