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Press Release

Two Teens Sentenced to Federal Prison for Attempting to Smuggle AK-47-Style Rifles Into Mexico

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. – Manuel De Jesus Guzman, 19, of Rio Rico, Arizona, and Joshua Francisco Mendez, 19, of Tucson, Arizona, were sentenced on June 21, 2023, and July 26, 2023, respectively, by United States District Judge James A. Soto. Guzman was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Mendez was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison; both sentences will be followed by three years of supervised release. Guzman and Mendez pleaded guilty to Smuggling Goods from the United States.

Guzman and Mendez attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico on June 7, 2022, through the pedestrian gate at the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona. During a search at secondary inspection, Customs and Border Protection officers located four AK-47-style rifles taped to their bodies. Guzman and Mendez had two Romarms WASR-10 rifles, one Century Arms VSKA rifle, and one Century Arms BFT rifle.

The firearms that Guzman and Mendez intended to take across the border are prohibited from being exported from the United States into Mexico without a valid license. Neither Guzman nor Mendez had a valid license or any other lawful authority to export the firearms into Mexico.

Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Homeland Security conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Bolling and Micah Schmit, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-22-01487-JAS-MSA
RELEASE NUMBER:    2023-122_Mendez et al.

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Public Affairs
Zach J. Stoebe
Telephone:  (602) 514-7413

Updated August 7, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 2023-122_Mendez et al.