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March 26, 2009

BROWNSVILLE MAN SENTENCED FOR SMUGGLING  FIREARMS

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – Emmanuel Ramirez, 25, has been sentenced to federal prison for aiding and abetting others to make false statements on firearms purchase records and smuggling those firearms from the U.S. into Mexico, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Ramirez was sentenced today to 10 years for the smuggling charge and five years for making false statements. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Ramirez pleaded guilty to both federal firearms offenses in December 2008.

During the course of this prosecution, evidence proved that Ramirez was the leader of a group of 13 others who from June 25, 2007, through Jan. 12, 2008, either purchased or recruited others to purchase firearms destined for Mexico by lying. Co-defendant Emmanuel Ramirez enlisted and directed yet another co-defendant, Carlos Garcia, to recruit individuals which included Bryant Guillen, Efrain Villarreal, Roque Briagas, David Lucas and Ann 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 Adrian Molina, Elton Vasquez, John Rodriguez and Encarnacion Perez to purchase firearms for Ramirez. Garcia also asked Guillen to recruit Juan Olvera, Zacarias Garcia and Jesus Martinez to purchase firearms for Ramirez.

Ramirez provided Carlos Garcia the money for the purchase of the weapons and instruct Garcia which weapons to buy. Garcia, in turn, provide the money to others to buy the weapons Ramirez wanted. The purchasers of the firearms which included Villarreal, Briagas, Zarate, Olvera, Zacarias Garcia, Martinez, Molina, Vasquez, Rodriguez and Perez purchased weapons and executed a Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473, Firearm Transaction Record, falsely claiming they were the actual buyer of the firearms. ATF Form 4473 specifically asks “Are you the actual buyer of the Firearm(s) listed on this form?” In each instance, the purchasers falsely answered “yes” to this question. A total of 77 firearms were acquired and smuggled into Mexico in this manner.

Ramirez’s sentence includes upward adjustments or increases in his calculated sentencing guideline range because he engaged in trafficking of firearms by acquiring the firearms for individuals in Mexico, he was the leader/organizer of the criminal activity, he obstructed justice when he absconded from pretrial release supervision and because the offense involved 77 weapons.

The other 13 charged in this case and named above were sentenced on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 to sentences ranging from five years probation to 42 months in federal prison without parole.

Ramirez was in custody from Sept. 5, 2008, until Nov. 21, 2008, at which time he was released on bond. He was rearrested on Jan. 30, 2008, after he violated his conditions of pre-trial release and has been incarcerated ever since.

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

 

 

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