Feb. 17, 2011
STRAW PURCHASE AND ILLEGAL EXPORT OF MUNITION LANDS TWO IN FEDERAL PRISON
(McALLEN, Texas) - Isaac Cervantes-Sanchez, 29, of McAllen, Texas, and Leonel Richard Soto, 20, a United States citizen residing in Tamaulipias, Mexico, have been sentenced to prison for their roles in the straw purchasing firearms and ammunition ultimately bound for Mexico, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
United States District Judge Randy Crane sentenced both men today handing Cervantes-Sanchez to a total of 46 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release for the illegal exportation of munitions conviction. Judge Crane sentenced Soto to 24 months incarceration to be followed by three-year-term of supervised release for lying to buy two AK-47’s for Cervantes-Sanchez. Both men pleaded guilty to the offenses of conviction in December 2010.
The charges and the convictions of these two defendants is the result of an investigation conducted by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. In August 2009, ATF and ICE-HSI agents saw the defendants load approximately 4,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammunition into a vehicle driven by Cervantes. CBP agents stopped Cervantes and Soto as they attempted to leave the United States. Cervantes admitted to exporting the ammunition to Mexico. Soto purchased two AK-47 type firearms for Cervantes and was paid $300 to do so.
Both men have been in federal custody without bond since their August 2008 arrest and will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prison facility to be designated in the near future where they will serve their sentence.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel.
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