Two More Convicted for Attempting to Smuggle Assault Rifle Magazines
|July 19, 2012|
LAREDO, Texas – Julio Cesar Flores-Martinez, 46, and Francisco Padilla-Perez, 41, both Mexican nationals, have pleaded guilty to attempting to illegally smuggle a total of 652 assault rifle magazines to Mexico, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Padilla pleaded guilty just a short time ago before United States District Judge Diana Saldana, while Flores pleaded guilty last week.
On April 19, 2012, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) obtained information that a person believed to be a Mexican firearms buyer was trying to obtain high capacity AK-47 rifle magazines from the United States. Undercover agents posed as firearm magazine suppliers and contacted the buyer, later identified as Padilla, who requested 650 high capacity AK-47 rifle magazines. According to court records, Padilla told agents he would pay $19,500 cash for the rifles. He then instructed agents to deliver them to a Mexican truck driver from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, who would receive the rifle magazines and attempt to smuggle them into Mexico via one of the international bridges in Laredo. That driver was Flores.
Padilla and the undercover agents met with Flores, at which time Flores received nine black suitcases containing 652 high capacity AK-47 rifle magazines and hid them in the cab of his truck while Padilla observed from nearby. After Flores finished loading them, Padilla then handed agents a white plastic bag containing $19,500 in cash.
Flores drove to the World Trade Bridge where Customs and Border Protection officers recovered the 652 high capacity rifle magazines. The magazines are made for 7.62x39mm caliber ammunition and designed for use with AK-47 type assault rifles. Each magazine is designed to hold 30 rounds.
Flores and Padilla have been in custody since their arrests where they will remain pending sentencing at a date to be determined in the near future. 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, Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. State Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Office and the Laredo Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.