For Immediate Release
Mexican National Brothers Guilty of Trafficking Firearms in Southeast Texas
BEAUMONT, Texas – A pair of Mexican national brothers have pleaded guilty to firearms charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
Julio Ceasar Martinez-Rivas, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic firearms today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn. His brother, 31-year-old Eric Martinez-Rivas, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Sep. 5, 2018.
According to information presented in court, between March 2014 and March 2015, the brothers operated a firearms trafficking organization from their apartment in Houston, using money from Mexico to smuggle firearms from the United States to Mexico. To acquire firearms, the Martinez-Rivas brothers recruited co-conspirators from the Houston-area and used electronic money transfers from co-conspirators in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico, to fund the scheme. The brothers arranged for electronic money transfers to be sent directly to the co-conspirators in the Houston area, who in turn used the money to purchase high caliber firearms from licensed and unlicensed firearms dealers in the Eastern District of Texas and elsewhere in the United States.
On June 17, 2015, the Martinez-Rivas brothers and five others were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas and charged with conspiracy to traffic firearms. The five co-conspirators have previously pleaded guilty and are serving federal prison sentences.
Under federal statutes, the defendants each face up to five years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Department of Homeland Security–ICE, and the Houston Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John B. Ross and Randall L. Fluke.