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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Texas
Ashley C. Hoff, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Two Mexican Nationals Extradited to U.S. on Gun Charges

EL PASO – Two Mexican nationals were extradited to the United States to face firearm charges.

According to court documents, Maria Crisol Zuniga Alvarado, 40, and Carlos Antonio Torres Sandoval, aka Pichi, 42, were extradited by Mexican authorities for their roles in firearms violations. An investigation by law enforcement authorities identified a group of individuals in El Paso that were responsible for unlawfully exporting large numbers of firearms from the United States to Mexico between June 2017 and March 2018. The investigation identified Sandoval as the leader of the organization.

The Justice Department's Office of International Affairs (OIA) worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas to prepare a formal extradition request that was presented to Mexican authorities on November 9, 2020. Sandoval and Alvarado were arrested pursuant to that extradition request.

Alvarado and Sandoval are charged with one count of Conspiracy to Smuggle Goods from the United States and one count of Smuggling Goods from the United States and Aiding and Abetting the Same. Sandoval also is charged with one count of False Statement During a Firearm Acquisition and Aiding and Abetting the Same. On March 8, 2022, Alvarado was detained without bond. Sandoval is scheduled for an arraignment and detention hearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel A. Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy to smuggle charge and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the smuggling charge. Sandoval also faces an additional maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the false statement charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek, II; and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Frank Burrola made the announcement.

The ATF and HSI are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mallory Rasmussen is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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