Three Sentenced for Involvement in a 100+ Firearm Straw Purchase and Export Ring
|Dec. 20, 2011|
MCALLEN, Texas – Three men involved in making false statements in the acquisition of firearms from federal firearms licensees (FFL) and exporting those firearms to Mexico are now serving prison terms, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Today, Chief United States District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Oscar Bravo-Hernandez, 40, a lawful permanent resident alien Falcon Heights, Texas, along with Luis Javier Lira Jr., 34, and Jose Macedonio Castillo, 35, both United States citizens residing in Mexico, to 84, 46 and 46 months, respectively, to be followed by a two-year-term of supervised release. Bravo-Hernandez pleaded guilty to unlawful exportation of munitions while Lira and Castillo each pleaded guilty to making false statements on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) forms 4473 in the acquisition of firearms from FFLs, commonly referred to as straw purchasing.
ATF agents discovered that Lira and Castillo had been purchasing large numbers of firearms highly desired by the Mexican Cartels. Over a three-month period, Lira purchased 22 firearms, while Castillo purchased 14 firearms – all transferred to Bravo-Hernandez after purchase. Hernandez admitted he would travel to Mexico to obtain money and orders for the purchase of firearms, would then direct the purchases and take the firearms to Mexico and deliver to individuals there. Bravo-Hernandez further admitted that his wife and other family members were also involved in this criminal enterprise.
In arriving at the sentences, the court noted the 101 firearms attributable to Bravo-Hernandez and the fact that he had recruited, directly or indirectly, more than five individuals in both this and a related case. Those recruited persons straw purchased the firearms so that Bravo-Hernandez could then have them exported.
All of the defendants have been in custody without bond since the time of their arrest where they will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation was conducted by the ATF and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel.