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Press Release

Mexican National Found Guilty of Drug and Firearm Charges

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

EL PASO – A federal jury convicted a Mexican national of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of straw purchasing firearms; one count of trafficking in firearms; and one count of conspiracy to smuggle bulk cash.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Rene Hernandez-Cordero, 52, of Ciudad Juarez was involved in an organization that smuggled firearms into the Republic of Mexico and methamphetamine into the United States. 

In August 2023, Hernandez and co-defendant Jesus Gerardo Ramos, 53, of El Paso, met at a gas station in El Paso with the purpose of obtaining 20 AK-47 type firearms and two Barrett .50 caliber rifles which would have been smuggled to Mexico. Evidence produced at trial showed that this particular group smuggled hundreds of firearms from the United States into Mexico from August of 2022 to August of 2023.

Co-defendants Ramos and Brian Alexis Munoz-Castro, 21, of El Paso pled guilty to one count of trafficking in firearms.  Munoz also pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. 

Hernandez and Munoz face up to 10 years to life in prison on the methamphetamine conspiracy charge.  Hernandez, Munoz and Ramos face up to 15 years in prison for each of the firearm charges and Hernandez faces up to 10 years in prison for the cash smuggling charge.  Munoz is scheduled for sentencing July 10 and Ramos is scheduled for sentencing July 17, 2024.  Hernandez is scheduled for sentencing on August 8, 2024. 

All defendants have remained in custody since their arrests in August 2023.

The firearms charges are new offenses under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress enacted and the President signed in June 2022. The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target the unlawful trafficking and straw purchasing of firearms. They also carry potential fines of up to $250,000.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi- jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.

The specific mission of the OCDETF El Paso / Las Cruces Strike Force is to target drug trafficking organizations along the southwest border that dominate the illicit drug trade and who are largely responsible for the violence plaguing the border communities. The OCDETF Strike Force Enforcement Group is comprised of agents and officers from Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations, Homeland Security Investigations, and the prosecution is being led by the Office of the United States Attorneys for the Western District of Texas in conjunction with an attorney from Customs and Border Protection Office of Chief Counsel.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas made the announcement.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the OCDETF El Paso/Las Cruces Strike Force Enforcement Group 3 investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Myers and Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Shannon Holderfield from Customs and Border Protection Office of Chief Counsel are prosecuting the case.


Updated May 9, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses