U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of Texas
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2010
José Angel Moreno, United States Attorney
Contact: Angela Dodge
Public Information Officer
Attempt to Smuggle Semi-Automatic Firearms and Ammunition Thwarted at Anzalduas Port of Entry
(McALLEN, Texas) — A 48-year-old Mexican national has been arrested and charged with attempting to export semi-automatic weapons and ammunition into Mexico without a license or authorization, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Ernesto Gonzalez-Reyes, 48, a resident alien of the United States actually residing in Reynosa, Mexico, was taken into custody on Saturday, March 20, 2010, after Customs and Border Protection officers working the southbound lanes of the Anzalduas Port of Entry in Mission, Texas, found five Century Arms Model GP WASR-10/63, 7.62 x 39 mm caliber semi-automatic rifles, 10 high capacity 7.62 x 39 mm magazines and 50 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition hidden within the cargo area panels and the front and rear bumpers of the Chevrolet Suburban he was driving.
Criminal charges were filed in federal court on Monday, March 22, 2010, as a result of additional investigation by special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The charges allege Gonzalez-Reyes willfully exported and caused to be exported from the United States into Mexico defense articles for which he did not have a license nor written authorization from the U.S. Department of State.
Gonzalez-Reyes remains in federal custody without bond pending a preliminary examination and detention hearing scheduled for Thursday, March 25, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos.
Willfully exporting defense articles without a license or authorization carries a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment without parole and a $1,000,000 fine upon conviction.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Schammel is prosecuting the case in federal court in McAllen.