Mexican Man Sentenced for Smuggling Guns and Ammo into Mexico


McALLEN, Texas — A Mexican national has been sentenced to two years in federal prison in McAllen for attempting to smuggle multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition into Mexico from South Texas, U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani announced.

Jose De Jesus Pena Dieguez, 68, pleaded guilty on March 27 to trying to smuggle the firearms and ammo on a vehicle roof rack. Court testimony revealed this wasn’t his first attempt at exporting firearms to Mexico.

Dieguez attempted to enter Mexico on Jan. 11 via the Progreso International Bridge, connecting Progreso, Texas, to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, with firearms on a Nissan Xterra’s roof rack, Hamdani said.

A search by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers uncovered 16 firearms, 31 firearm magazines, and over 800 rounds of ammunition.

“Dieguez potentially put lives at risk for his own personal gain – intending to profit by selling firearms illegally smuggled out of the United States,” Hamdani said in March when Dieguez pleaded guilty. “These crimes not only affect our residents, they also endanger innocent Mexican citizens.”

The case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods Program to reduce violent crimes, including gun violence.

Dieguez faced up to 10 years in prison but was sentenced to 24 months and three years of supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane of the Southern District of Texas in McAllen.

Sandra Sanchez
Sandra Sanchez
South Texas correspondent. Sandra Sanchez has been an award-winning newspaper journalist for the past 30 years — including many years covering the Southwest border and immigration for USA TODAY — and twice served as a Pulitzer Prize jurist. She is passionate about border and immigration issues and loves living on the border.

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