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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Former El Paso Businessman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Role In Ammunition Smuggling Scheme

This morning in El Paso, 49-year-old Hector Ayala, former owner of Uniforms of Texas, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to smuggle ammunition and other prohibited items into the Republic of Mexico announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Dennis Ulrich in El Paso.

In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge David Briones ordered that Ayala perform 200 hours of community service and be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term. Furthermore, Judge Briones ordered that Ayala pay a $200,000 monetary judgment as well as forfeit to the Government 8,600 rounds of ammunition, $103,000 in U.S. Currency as well as approximately $1 million worth of military and law enforcement equipment seized by authorities during this investigation.

In December 2012, Ayala pleaded guilty to one count of facilitating the smuggling of goods from the United States. By pleading guilty, Ayala admitted that from September 1, 2009, to December 3, 2011, he concealedand facilitated the transportation of multiple calibers and quantities of ammunition; approximately 300 high capacity ammunition magazines and drums; and, approximately 800 ballistic vests with ceramic plates knowing that the items were intended to be exported from the United States into Mexico.

Dennis A. Ulrich, special agent in charge for HSI El Paso, said this case goes to the core of HSI’s mission,
which is to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. “Our special agents are charged with investigating and arresting individuals who threaten national security and public safety by violating U.S. laws,” said Ulrich. “Successful prosecution of criminals who illegally export weapons and ammunition to Mexico also helps secure our border.”

The case was investigated by ICE-HSI agents together with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives as well as the El Paso Police Department Stash House Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Greg McDonald prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.