Three Men Arrested on Illegal Firearms Violations
LAREDO, Texas – Three persons alleged to have been involved in engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license have made their initial appearances in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Authorities arrested Alejandro Rodriguez, 26, Alejandro Hernandez, 27, and Lewis Rodriguez, 28, all of Laredo, Thursday, April 12. Today, they made their appearance in Laredo federal court. They are set for a preliminary examination hearing on April 20, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga.
According to the criminal complaint, on four separate occasions, federal agents purchased 11 AR-type rifles from the three men. Last week, agents seized another 12 AR-type rifles as part of an undercover operation. The charges allege two of those weapons were fully automatic firearms. None of the firearms had any identifying markings or serial numbers, according to the complaint.
“ATF targets firearms smuggling organizations, because stopping the flow of weapons illegally exported from the United States is a top priority," said Milanowski. “These offenders and their networks must be dismantled, as they remain a serious threat here in the United States.”
“Stopping the flow of weapons illegally exported into Mexico is an urgent priority for HSI,” said Folden. “HSI along with its federal partners will continue to target firearms smuggling organizations and dismantle the networks responsible for supplying these egregious offenders before they fall into the hands of drug cartels which pose a threat here in the United States and abroad.”
If convicted, each faces up to five years imprisonment and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
ATF and HSI are conducting the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol, U.S. Marshals Service and the Laredo Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Giselle S. Guerra is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.