For Immediate Release
Pharr Resident Sentenced in Firearms Case
McALLEN, Texas – A 31-year-old Mexican citizen residing in Pharr has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and conspiring to export defense articles to Mexico without authorization, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Jose Abraham Benavides-Cira pleaded guilty July 31, 2015.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Benavides-Cira to 135 months in federal prison. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
From Dec. 10, 2014, through the March 17, 2015, indictment and even continuing to his arrest two days later, Benavides-Cira was involved in a conspiracy to illegally export 5.56 caliber rifles to Mexico along with his brother - Jose Luis Benavides-Cira, 33, of Edinburg, Oliver Bouzas-Delie, 32, of McAllen, and Ricardo Humberto Varela, 32, of Pharr.
During that time, Bouzas-Delie introduced an undercover agent acting as a weapons smuggler to the Benavides-Cira brothers who had negotiated and completed the purchase of a rifle. The agent continued negotiating directly with the brothers, resulting in the purchase of two more 5.56 caliber rifles that Valera had supplied. The serial numbers on those rifles had been obliterated.
Jose Abraham Benavides-Cira and his brother engaged in yet another sale at the time of their arrest on March 19, 2015.
Jose Luis Benavides-Cira and Varela were each previously sentenced to 46 months in prison, while Bouzas-Delie served a sentence of eight months based on his involvement with the sale of one rifle to an undercover agent.
The charges were the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Leonard prosecuted the case.