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Press Release

Two sentenced for trafficking firearms destined for Mexico

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

LAREDO, Texas – Two people residing in Laredo have been ordered to federal prison for conspiring to sell pistols, rifles and ammunition via social media, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Joccelyn Jasmin Recio, 30, Laredo, and Mexican national Victor Martin Serrano Carrillo, 20, pleaded guilty Sept. 12, 2023, and May 11, 2023, respectively.

U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña has now ordered Recio and Carrillo to serve respective sentences of 78 and 63 months. Recio must also serve three years of supervised release, while Carillo, not a U.S. citizen, is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. At the hearing, the court heard about Recio’s prior conviction for alien smuggling in 2016. In imposing the sentence, Judge Saldaña noted the drug war in Mexico in which Recio and Carrillo made a choice to become involved and how their involvement in the conspiracy operated as a well-oiled machine that resulted in the sale of an immeasurable number of firearms.

“Recio and Carillo potentially put lives at risk for their own personal gain - intending to profit by selling firearms and ammunition to be illegally smuggled out of the United States,” said Hamdani. “We remain vigilant in our efforts to combat this international issue. Try to take guns to Mexico through our district and pay for it with your freedom.”

As part of the conspiracy, Carrillo contacted sellers on WhatsApp to purchase firearms for Recio via private sales. Carrillo would then transport Recio and the firearms to the meeting places. Recio would use WhatsApp and other social media messaging to communicate with the buyers and then pay Carrillo a fee for each firearm following the sale.

As part of their pleas, both admitted that in February 2023, Recio had delivered a total of six pistols, two rifles and 123 rounds of ammunition along six pistol magazines in exchange for cash. Recio contacted a buyer and sent photos of the various firearms along with the prices for each.

The firearms included one loaded AR-15 type rifle.

Recio and Carrillo have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service, Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Department and Precinct 2 Webb County Constable’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez 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 April 18, 2024

Firearms Offenses