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July 9, 2012

(713) 567-9388

Two Plead Guilty to Attempted Smuggling of Assault Rifle Magazines

LAREDO, Texas – Mexican national Teodoro Sanchez-Alejo, 33, and Alejandro Rivera-Ruiz, 37, of Laredo, Texas, have been convicted of attempting to illegally smuggle a total of 300 assault rifle magazines to Mexico, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

On April 24, 2012, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) obtained information that a person believed to be a Mexican smuggler was trying to obtain 250 high capacity AK-47 and AR-15 rifle magazines from the United States. Undercover agents posing as firearm magazine suppliers contacted the smuggler who then claimed he had already contracted a Mexican truck driver from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to receive the magazines and attempt to smuggle them into Mexico via one of the international bridges in Laredo. The smuggler gave agents the driver’s contact information with instructions to contact the driver directly.

Agents called the number and Sanchez answered. He agreed to meet them at the parking lot of a Chevron service station located in east Laredo and advised what he would be driving. An HSI undercover agent subsequently delivered six duffle bags containing the rifle magazines to Sanchez, who then hid them in his truck.

A few minutes later, agents observed Rivera arrive and pull up alongside Sanchez’s truck. Rivera walked over to Sanchez and handed him two large boxes containing 50 high capacity AR-15 assault rifle magazines.

Sanchez drove to the Colombia Solidarity Bridge, at which time Customs and Border Protection officers recovered the 300 high capacity rifle magazines. The 250 magazines in the duffle bags were made for 7.62x39mm caliber ammunition and designed for use with AK-47 type assault rifles. The 50 magazines in the two large boxes were made for 5.56x45mm (.223) caliber rounds and designed for use with M-16/M-4/AR-15 type assault rifles. Each magazine was designed to hold 30 rounds.

Both men have been in custody since their arrests where they will remain pending sentencing to be set at a later date. At that time, they each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

The matter was investigated by HSI with the cooperation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, CBP, State Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Office and Laredo Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.