Former Police Officer Sent To Prison On Gun Charges
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Armando Duenez, 31, has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions for conspiracy to export firearms and failure to appear, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Duenez, who pleaded guilty Jan. 30, 2013, was employed as a police officer with the Rio Hondo Police Department during the offense.
Today, U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Duenez a sentence of 60 months for the firearms charge and 60 months for failing to appear as ordered. A portion of the sentences will be served consecutively for a total sentence of 64 months. He was further ordered to serve three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term. In handing down the sentence, Judge Tagle also ordered Duenez perform 150 hours of community service upon his release from prison.
The former officer entered into an agreement with others to export weapons from the United States to Mexico. Duenez admitted to working with Raymond Martinez, formerly a member of the Palm Valley Police Department, to buy firearms and sell them for a profit to individuals who intended to smuggle them to Mexico. Duenez admitted to purchasing more than 15 semi-automatic rifles that were later sold in Mexico. The rifles were all capable of accepting high capacity magazines. The investigation began when weapons recovered in Mexico were traced back to him. Martinez was also convicted of dealing in firearms without a license and later sentenced to federal prison.
Duenez was arrested for the firearms offense in July 2008. After being release on bond, Duenez failed to appear for his arraignment having fled to Mexico. Duenez remained in Mexico until he surrendered to United States Marshals Service in December 2012.
Duenez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bill Hagen.