GREENSBORO, N.C. – A Winston-Salem man was sentenced to 157 months in prison for his role as the leader of a smuggling ring funneling firearms and ammunition to Mexico from North Carolina, announced United States Attorney Ripley Rand.
Angel Medel Lorenzo, 56, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle firearms and firearm accessories to Mexico and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. He was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge William L. Osteen, Jr., to 157 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.
During an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD), officers seized multiple firearms, firearm scopes, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As part of a drug investigation by the WSPD’s Special Investigations Division, detectives searched Medel Lorenzo’s residence on October 19, 2011, and found multiple handguns, rifles, ammunition, cocaine, digital scales and rifle scopes. In July 2012, a reliable FBI Confidential Informant (CI) provided information that Medel Lorenzo was organizing a load of firearms to be smuggled into Mexico from Winston-Salem, NC. Thereafter, law enforcement monitored a meeting between Medel Lorenzo, the CI, and other members of the smuggling conspiracy concerning the planned shipment of a 16-gun load of firearms to Guerrero, Mexico.
On July 24, 2012, authorities executed a federal search warrant at the residence of co-defendant Ramiro Alejandro Garcia Roman on East Sprague Street in Winston-Salem and recovered a shipment of 16 firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and other firearms accessories wrapped in plastic and black electrical tape. The investigation revealed that Medel Lorenzo had been smuggling firearms to Mexico since February of 2011 and that he used his teenage children to assist in packaging the firearms for transport. Co-defendants Ramiro Garcia Roman and Medel Lorenzo’s daughter, Inocensia Medel Banos, were each sentenced in July of 2013 to 46 months in federal prison for their roles in the smuggling conspiracy.
“The drug cartels of Mexico have shown countless times they have very little regard for human life,” said Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas. “Without question, the defendant was trying to get the weapons and ammunition seized in this case into Mexico to be used by these same cartel members. We are thankful for the help from the FBI, ATF, the Winston-Salem Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in putting a dangerous man in prison and in stopping this smuggling scheme.”
“This prosecution is a testament to the results that can be achieved through coordinated investigative efforts by the law enforcement community,” said United States Attorney Ripley Rand. “Choking off the illegal export of firearms by prosecuting smugglers is important in reducing the threat that the guns will be used in violent crime. HSI, FBI, ATF and the Winston-Salem Police Department all played critical roles in exposing this gun smuggling network, enabling our office to successfully prosecute this organization.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randall S. Galyon.