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Washington D.C.
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Teens Sent to Federal Prison for Attempting to Smuggle AK-47-Style Rifles into Mexico

During a search at secondary inspection, Customs and Border Protection officers located four AK-47-style rifles taped to their bodies.

Two southern Arizona teens were sentenced in federal court on June 21, and July 26, respectively, following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“Any time firearms can be taken out of the hands of criminals is a win for public safety,” said HSI Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown. “It’s equally disturbing that these two young defendants will now on be labeled as felons — they have learned the hard way that HSI is fully committed to investigating and ensuring the fullest law is applied to those seeking to smuggle weapons southbound. This illegal activity will not be tolerated.”

Manuel De Jesus Guzman, 19, of Rio Rico, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Joshua Francisco Mendez, 19, of Tucson, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison; both sentences will be followed by three years of supervised released; Guzman and Mendez pleaded guilty to Smuggling Goods from the United States.

Guzman and Mendez attempted to exit the United States and enter Mexico on June 7, 2022, through the pedestrian gate at the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales. During a search at secondary inspection, Customs and Border Protection officers located four AK-47-style rifles taped to their bodies. Guzman and Mendez had two Romarms WASR-10 rifles, one Century Arms VSKA rifle, and one Century Arms BFT rifle.

The firearms that Guzman and Mendez intended to take across the border are prohibited from being exported from the United States into Mexico without a valid license. Neither Guzman nor Mendez had a valid license or any other lawful authority to export the firearms into Mexico.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Bolling and Micah Schmit for the District of Arizona in Tucson handled the prosecution.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Read more at ICE

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
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Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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