For Immediate Release
Brothers Admit to Conspiracy to Traffic Firearms They Believed Were Bound for Mexico
SAN DIEGO – Homero Cervantes Rosales and Mauricio Cervantes Rosales – brothers from Perris, California - pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiring to traffic firearms they believed were bound for Mexico and dealing firearms without a license.
They entered their guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford. The defendants admitted that they and others exchanged marijuana with co-conspirators in Texas for firearms, which they sold to individuals they believed were drug traffickers. The defendants also used other sources to obtain firearms for the conspiracy.
According to the plea agreements, from February through April of this year, Homero and Mauricio Cervantes Rosales sold more than 30 firearms, including many Privately Made Firearms, also known as ghost guns; short-barrel rifles; silencers; and machine guns, for an estimated value of $60,000, to a cooperating individual and undercover agents who were posing as international drug traffickers. During one sale, Homero Cervantes Rosales said that with advance notice, he could get any kind of firearms or ammunition. According to plea agreements, undercover agents told the defendants the “firearms were destined for Mexico.”
“Trafficking guns into Mexico arms criminal organizations which then funnel drugs back into the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Tara K. McGrath. “In this case, ATF was able to seize an arsenal. And, without their intervention those guns would have put lives at risk on both sides of the border.”
“This is an excellent example of the use of new criminal firearms trafficking offense, 18 U.S.C. § 933,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge of Los Angeles Field Division Christopher Bombardiere. “Firearms traffickers are responsible for the violence committed with those guns. As a society we have to make firearms trafficking as socially reprehensible as the crimes committed with those guns. These defendants were well aware these guns were destined for Mexico but kept making the firearm sales.”
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Brehm.