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Press Release

Illegal Alien Sentenced to Prison on Federal Firearms Trafficking Charges

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

 

Gulfport, Miss. – Paula Villalva-Patricio, 57, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced on October 26, 2017, by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden, to 180 months in federal prison for smuggling firearms and ammunition from North Carolina to Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Raymond Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of Immigration Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New Orleans.

In August 2011, a traffic stop by Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies led to the discovery of two firearms and flak jackets hidden in a spare tire. As a result, Homeland Security agents opened an investigation. A subsequent traffic stop of the same truck in November 2011 uncovered an additional 28 firearms and 900 rounds of ammunition secreted under the truck bed. Further investigation led to the indictment of Villalva-Patricio in September 2012. She was apprehended in November 2016, while crossing into the United States at the border in San Diego, California.

In July 2017, a jury found Villalva-Patricio guilty of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, attempting to smuggle firearms out of the United States in violation of regulations and laws, and transporting or delivering firearms to a person who does not reside in the same state.

This case is the result of an investigation led by the Homeland Security Investigations Gulfport office in partnership with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Annette Williams and Kathlyn Van Buskirk.

Updated November 2, 2017