News and Press Releases

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March 25, 2009


(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – Thirteen Brownsville residents have been sentenced for purchasing or recruiting others to purchase firearms by making false statements, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle handed down the sentences yesterday evening. 

Carlos Garcia, 22, has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for his role in recruiting others to purchase firearms by making false statements and 42 months for his role in smuggling the firearms from the U.S. to Mexico. The sentences will run concurrently. Bryant Guillen, 20, and David Lucas, 24, have been sentenced to 37 and 40 months, respectively, for their roles in recruiting individuals to purchase firearms by making false statements. Also sentenced for their roles in purchasing firearms by making false statements were Encarnacion Perez, 23, Roque Briagas, 28, Juan Olvera, 24, Zacarias Garcia, 22, Ann Zarate, 26, Adrian Molina, 23, Elton Vasquez, 24, Jesus Martinez, 24, John Rodriguez, 23, and Efrain Villarreal, 23. Perez received 22 months; Briagas, Olvera and Garcia all received 16 months; Zarate, Molina and Vasquez each received 10 months; Martinez received six months; and Rodriquez and Villarreal were sentenced to five years probation along with six months of electronic monitoring.

The evidence at sentencing proved that from on or about June 25, 2007, through Jan. 12, 2008, Emmanuel Ramirez enlisted and directed Garcia to recruit individuals which included Guillen, Villarreal, Briagas, Lucas and Zarate, to purchase firearms or to recruit others to purchase firearms for Ramirez who would then send the weapons to Mexico. Lucas, at the behest of Garcia, recruited Molina, Vasquez, Rodriguez and Perez to purchase firearms for Ramirez. Garcia also asked Guillen to recruit Olvera, Garcia and Martinez to purchase firearms for Ramirez. The purchasers of the firearms executed a Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473, Firearm Transaction Record, to the effect that they were the actual buyer of the firearms when in truth and in fact they were acquiring the firearms on behalf of Ramirez. A total of 77 firearms were acquired and smuggled into Mexico in this manner.

Garcia, Guillen and Lucas’ sentences include upward adjustments or increases in their calculated sentencing guideline range because they engaged in trafficking of firearms by acquiring the firearms for individuals in Mexico, they were leaders and organizers of the criminal activity and for the number of firearms involved. Some of the purchasers of the weapons also received upward adjustments because they engaged in trafficking of firearms and for the number of firearms they each purchased.

Ramirez, the leader of the charged conspiracy, is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, March 26, 2009.

This case was investigated by ATF and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Angel Castro.



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