In San Antonio this morning, four individuals received federal prison terms for their roles in a San Antonio-based firearms trafficking scheme announced U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala and Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Houston Division.
Chief U.S District Judge Fred Biery sentenced 40–year-old ringleader Roberto Loera and his brother, 31–year-old Manuel Loera-Cazares each to ten years in federal prison. Judge Biery also sentenced 35–year-old Jose Fedencio Mendez Cadena of San Antonio and 42–year-old Jose Driscoll to four years in federal prison. In addition, Judge Biery sentenced a fifth defendant, 25–year-old Daniel DeLeon, to five years probation.
On October 17, 2014, co-defendants Santos Ligues, III, age 36, and Juan Jose Flores were sentenced to 20 months in federal prison and five years probation, respectively. An eighth defendant, 30-year-old Agustin Aguilar-Torres failed to appear for today’s sentencing. An arrest warrant has been issued for Aguilar-Torres.
All of the defendants entered guilty pleas to various firearms trafficking charges earlier this year. According to court records, from February 2012 until April 2012, the defendants were involved in a firearms trafficking scheme in the Western and Southern Districts of Texas. The scheme involved the purchasing of assault weapons from federal firearms licensees (FFLs) in San Antonio, then obliterating their serial numbers. The defendants would subsequently dismantle the firearms and conceal them inside the I-beams of a pick-up truck in an attempt to smuggle them into Mexico. On April 24, 2012, Frio County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic stop on the truck being driven by Driscoll and seized $50,000 in U.S. Currency as well as five AR-15 assault rifles.
This investigation was conducted by HSI and ATF together with assistance from the Frio County Sheriff’s Office.