Madera Man Pleads Guilty To Unlawful Firearms Shipment To Mexico
FRESNO, Calif. — Ernesto Salgado-Guzman, 47, of Madera, pleaded guilty to a violation of the Arms Export and Control Act by shipping firearms to Mexico, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Salgado-Guzman was part of a scheme to purchase in Madera more than 400 guns (mostly Ruger Model 10/22 and .22-caliber rifles) and sell them to various individuals in Oaxaca, Mexico. During the investigation, 85 of the firearms were seized (54 in Mexico and 31 in Madera).
According to court documents, between 2006 and 2009, Salgado-Guzman solicited and directed the assistance of co-conspirators to purchase firearms from a sport shop in Madera. Other co-conspirators and Salgado-Guzman transported the weapons to Mexico to be sold to individuals in Oaxaca, Mexico. Salgado-Guzman knew that a license or permit was required in order to export the firearms to Mexico, but he did not have any license or permit from the Unites States government to do so.
U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “This case involved cooperation between law enforcement officials in this district and in Mexico to prosecute participants in this gun trafficking scheme on both sides of the border. Stopping the illegal flow of guns from the Unites States to Mexico is an important objective in both countries.”
“Ernesto Salgado-Guzman will no longer be able to traffic firearms to Mexico to perpetuate the violence being committed,” stated Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl. “This is another victory for law enforcement in the war on crime domestically and internationally.”
“Thwarting the illegal flow of guns into Mexico is crucial to reducing the violence and bloodshed in that country,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco, which oversees HSI’s enforcement activities in Fresno. “HSI will continue to work closely with its federal and local partners to ensure the Central Valley does not serve as a source of firearms being illicitly trafficked to Mexico or any other nation.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and various Mexican law enforcement agencies with the assistance of Fresno Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez is prosecuting the case.
Salgado-Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on May 5, 2014. He faces a maximum statutory penalty 40 years in prison and a $2.5 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Co-defendants Demetrio Sebastian Cortez-Ordaz, 47, of Madera pleaded guilty and is set for sentencing on February 24, 2014. Demetrio Cortez-Salgado, 36, of Madera, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Florencio Solanes-Morales, of Madera, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Demetrio Sebastian Cortez-Ordaz is scheduled to appear before Judge O’Neill on February 24, 2014 for sentencing. Zeferina Salgado Guzman de Cortez, 44, of Madera, has a trial set for April 22, 2014. Gregorio Salgado-Lopez and Maria Lopez de Salgado, 50, both residents of Madera, were prosecuted in Mexico on related charges.