Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

June 27, 2012

Mexican Gun Smuggling Operation Indicted in East Texas

PLANO, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that 11 defendants have been indicted in the Eastern District of Texas for their roles in a firearms smuggling scheme.

                Named in the indictment were:

                Lialo Jourel Benavides, a.k.a. ?LJ,? 29, of Carrollton;
Andrew Satterlee, 32, of Lewisville;
Eric Palma, 36, of Grand Prairie;
Richard Valdes, 40, of Burleson;
Joshua Coulter, 33, of Carrollton;
Emilio Agron, 40, of Dallas;
David Snead, 38, of Arlington;
Jose Trevino, 35, of Grand Prairie;
Anthony Smith, 45, of Garland;
Brian Launius, 22, of Dallas; and
Robert Mannix, 52, of Dallas

                According to the 3-count indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on June 13, 2012, all 11 defendants are charged with conspiracy to acquire firearms by falsely representing that the firearms were intended for themselves, when in fact, they were intended for other individuals.  Benavides, Valdes, Coulter, Agron, Snead and Trevino were also charged with structuring the payments for the firearms by purchasing money orders on the same day at multiple post offices in amounts less than $3,000, with a daily total over $3,000 in order to avoid reporting the transactions to the federal government.  Benavides and Palma are also charged with conspiring to smuggle firearms from the United States to Mexico.

            All defendants appeared in court this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush.  If convicted, each defendant faces up to 5 years in federal prison for each count with which they are charged.

                This case is being investigated by HSI, ATF and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey M. Batson.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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