News and Press Releases

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Feb. 6, 2009


(LAREDO) – Raul Alvarez, 29, a U.S. citizen and the business manager of a men’s club in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, has pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle ammunition from the United States into Mexico, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Alvarez entered his guilty plea to the federal ammunitions smuggling charge today before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez. Arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, Alvarez has been in federal custody without bond and will remain in custody pending his sentencing. He faces a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for attempting to knowingly and willfully export ammunition from the United States into Mexico. Sentencing is scheduled for April 2009.  

The charges against Alvarez were filed in December 2008 after a random Customs and Border Protection (CBP) outbound inspection at an international bridge in Laredo resulted in the discovery of 282 rounds of ammunition, three pistol magazines and eight assault rifle magazines in a secret compartment built into a passenger side rear quarter panel in Alvarez’s Expedition. Alvarez was bound for Mexico at the time of the inspection and had denied having anything to declare including ammunition.

The cavity of the rear passenger speaker had been modified into a non-factory compartment that hid the ammunition and the rifle and pistol magazines. The external plastic speaker cover served as the trap door to the compartment. The cover was wired electronically to open and close by pushing certain buttons on the front of the vehicle.

The charges are the result of the seizures made by CBP and an investigation being conducted by Department of Homeland Security Border Enforcement Security Task Force led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diana Song.


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