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Press Release

Guadalajara resident heads to prison for trying to smuggle dozens of firearms and ammunition back to Mexico

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

McALLEN, Texas – A 68-year-old resident of Guadalajara, Mexico, has been sentenced for attempting to smuggle multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition on a vehicle roof rack, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Jose De Jesus Pena Dieguez pleaded guilty March 27.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now ordered Dieguez to serve 24 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Dieguez had previously exported firearms to Mexico on several prior occasions.

On Jan. 11, Dieguez attempted to enter Mexico through the Progreso Port of Entry in a Nissan Xterra. Upon inspection, authorities noticed tampering on the screws of a compartment connected to the vehicle's roof rack. An x-ray examination also showed anomalies within the compartment.

A subsequent search revealed 16 firearms, 31 firearm magazines, assorted firearm parts and 800 rounds of ammunition.

Dieguez admitted he purchased the firearms and intended to illegally export them to Mexico.

Dieguez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Customs and Border Protection conducted the joint investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cahal P. McColgan prosecuted the case as part of the joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program. In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new effort to reduce violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. Integral to that effort was the reinvigoration of PSN, a two-decade old, evidence-based and community-oriented program focused on reducing violent crime. The updated PSN approach, outlined in the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results of our efforts. The fundamental goal is to reduce violent crime, not simply to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions.

Updated June 11, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods