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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 4, 2013

Defendant Extradited From Mexico To U.S. Based On Federal Defense Article Smuggling Charges

Erik Alan Garza, age 25, of Eagle Pass, TX, appeared in federal court this morning in San Antonio following his extradition late Friday from Mexico based on federal smuggling charges filed in the Western District of Texas announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Deputy Special Agent in Charge Monica Mapel, San Antonio Division.

Garza is charged by federal grand jury indictment returned in Del Rio in June 2012 with six counts of aiding and abetting the smuggling of goods from the United States.  According to the indictment, on various occasions between June 19, 2010, and February 17, 2012, Garza and an accomplice, 32-year-old Eagle Pass resident Rolando Tamayo, illegally attempted to smuggle defense articles into the Republic of Mexico from the United States.  Those items included night vision monocular goggles, a thermal goggle, 400 sets of AR-15 front and rear flip-up tactical sights, approximately 5,000 high-capacity assault rifle magazines and approximately 6,000 rounds of ammunition, including 100 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.

The indictment also charges Tamayo, who remains a fugitive, with two counts of aiding and abetting the smuggling of goods from the United States. 

Each charge calls for a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison upon conviction.

“Gun and drug trafficking fuels violence by criminal organizations and threatens the security of the people along our borders and throughout the country,” said Monica Mapel, acting deputy special agent in charge of HSI in San Antonio.  “HSI special agents will continue working jointly with our law enforcement partners to utilize our expertise in import and export enforcement in order to keep our citizens safe and secure.”

This case was investigated by agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  The Department of Justice Office of International Affairs as well as the United States Marshals Service assisted in Garza’s extradition.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Galdo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.