August 26, 2009
ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE A SEMI-AUTOMATIC MACHINE GUN RESULTS IN PRISON TERM FOR U. S. CITIZEN
(McALLEN, Texas) - Serjio Agustin Nieto-Vazquez, 31, a United States citizen residing in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, was sentenced to prison for attempting to export a Browning M1919 machine gun converted to a semi-automatic with a tripod and other weapons and ammunition to Mexico, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
At a hearing this morning, United States District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Nieto-Vasquez to 46 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. Nieto-Vasquez pleaded guilty in late May 2008 to attempting to export defense articles on the United States Munitions List without obtaining a license or without written authorization in violation of Title 22, U.S.C., Section 2778.
Nieto-Vasquez has been in custody since his April 27, 2009. arrest by special agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the outbound inspection station at the Pharr, Texas, Port of Entry found the converted semi-automatic Browning M1919 machinegun and tripod, a Romanian AK-47 and 3,000 rounds of 5.7 X28 mm ammunition concealed in a blanket behind the passenger seat of Nieto-Vasquez’s pickup truck. Nieto admitted he was being paid $300 to smuggle the firearms into Mexico.
ICE and CBP were assisted in this investigation by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel.
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