For Immediate Release
Another Firearms Smuggler Heads to Prison
LAREDO, Texas – A Laredoan has been ordered to prison following his convictions for his role in smuggling firearms into Mexico, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Ruben Arnoldo Madrid, 21, pleaded guilty June 2, 2017.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña sentenced Madrid to a term of 51 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.
Madrid participated in a scheme to purchase civilian variants of firearms currently issued to military forces from various local firearms dealers. Between March 2016 and November 2016, Ruben Madrid’s brother, Juan Diego Madrid, 27, of Laredo, directed several individuals including Rolando Armando Madrid, 21, (Ruben’s twin brother), Edward Alexander Duenas, 20, and Francisco Xavier Martinez, 25, all of Laredo, to purchase the firearms. The firearms were then transferred to Erik Villasana, 20, also of Laredo, who arranged for the firearms to be smuggled into Mexico. Ruben and Rolando Madrid initiated the scheme, after which their older brother, Juan, took over the operation. The court noted that Ruben Madrid personally purchased nine firearms out of 36 firearms identified by law enforcement as sold during the operation. Three of the 36 firearms have since been recovered in Mexico.
The straw purchasers bought AR-15 and AK-47-type semiautomatic rifles, Beretta 92FS and DPMS AR-type rifles from Academy and Kirkpatrick Guns & Ammo stores in Laredo and San Antonio. Juan Madrid would then purchase the firearms from the straw purchasers and then re-sell them at a profit to Villasana who would then arrange for the firearms to be smuggled into Mexico. Juan Madrid was already a convicted felon and thereby prohibited from purchasing, owning or possessing firearms.
On Nov. 16, 2017, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña sentenced Juan Madrid to a term of 65 months in federal prison, while Rolando Madrid, Villasana, Duenas and Martinez received respective sentences of 51, 63, 27 and 41 months in prison.
Ruben Madrid was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Homero Ramirez and Special AUSA Lisa Ezra prosecuted the case.