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Press Release

Two Sentenced For Illegally Possessing Firearms With Plans To Export

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

McALLEN, Texas – The second of two defendants has been ordered to federal prison for being a prohibited person in possession of firearms, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Eduardo Villanova-Anaya, 21, a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States, and Jorge Rodriguez, 35, of Pharr, had previously entered guilty pleas in the case.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Cane sentenced Rodriguez to 78 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. Villanova-Anaya was previously sentenced to 120 months and, as a non-U.S. citizen, is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison. 

The investigation into both defendants began after agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were alerted to individuals who had made straw purchases of firearms. Villanova-Anaya was determined to be their recruiter and organizer. 

During the investigation, Villanova-Anaya contacted an undercover ATF agent to determine if he could procure firearms for him to take to Mexico. After several discussions, Villanova ordered six highly-trafficked firearms and the agent was to be paid upon delivery. 

On July 26, 2012, Villanova, Rodriguez and the agent met for the purposes of the transaction, at which time Villanova stated the firearms were going to be smuggled into Mexico. Rodriguez aided and abetted Villanova-Anaya by acting as a driver, assistant and protection at the meeting. They were arrested as Villanova-Anaya picked up and moved the firearms from the agent’s vehicle to his own.   

Villanova-Anaya and Rodriguez have been in custody without bond where they will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

ATF conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Steven Schammel prosecuted the case.

Updated April 30, 2015