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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Texas
Jaime Esparza, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, November 18, 2022

New Mexico Woman Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison for Conspiracy To Smuggle Firearms Into Mexico

EL PASO – A New Mexico woman was sentenced Wednesday to 50 months in prison for her involvement in a scheme to purchase firearms in West Texas and Southern New Mexico and then export them into Mexico.

According to court documents, Carmen Gallegos, aka Carmen Salazar-Andujo, of Hobbs, New Mexico, participated in a conspiracy to purchase at least 23 firearms in a two-month period, then illegally smuggle them from the U.S. into Mexico. Between September 2, 2021 and October 29, 2021, Gallegos had listed a Texas address on at least three separate Firearm Transaction Records while in the Western District of Texas when she actually resided in New Mexico.

Gallegos was arrested at the Ysleta Port of Entry on October 31, 2021, returning from a visit to Mexico. Investigators were able to determine Gallegos had provided false information to a federal firearms licensee to obtain firearms and further collected evidence that she would frequently purchase firearms with the intention of smuggling them into Mexico. Gallegos admitted during her arrest that she was paid $538 for smuggling three firearms into Mexico the day prior. On June 20, 2022, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States.

“Falsifying federal documents to purchase firearms is a serious offense,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “Thanks to our agency partners, who continue to stop firearms from crossing the border, we were able to prosecute appropriately and end Gallegos’s short-lived role as a smuggler.”

“Preventing firearms and ammunition from falling into the hands of transnational criminal organizations is one of HSI’s top enforcement priorities,” said HSI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola. “Our border is safer today because one more firearms trafficker is behind bars. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat the threat members of these criminal networks pose to public safety.”

“This is case is a clear reminder of ATF’s commitment to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to stop the illicit flow of firearms to Mexico and disrupt the firearm traffickers responsible,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Jamey VanVliet, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Dallas Field Division.

Homeland Security Investigations and ATF investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory McDonald, Ellen Denum and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristal Wade prosecuted the case.


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