A 19-year-old Edinburg resident has pleaded guilty to smuggling goods from the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Peter Deshaewn Maldonado-Guillen admitted to attempting to export five AK-47 rifle barrels without a license or written approval.
On Feb. 14, Maldonado-Guillen crossed through the Hidalgo Port of Entry (POE). However, Mexican authorities selected his vehicle for inspection and denied entry into Mexico. He was not in possession of the appropriate documentation for the vehicle and had to return to the United States.
Once back at the Hidalgo POE, he denied having any firearms, but U.S. authorities referred him and his vehicle for secondary inspection.
During a search of the vehicle, law enforcement discovered five AK-47 barrels in the quarter panel area of the vehicle. Maldonado-Guillen admitted to taking possession of the weapon parts in the United States, loading them into his vehicle and transporting the weapon parts into Mexico.
AK-47 barrels are designated as defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List. Maldonado-Guillen did not obtain consent or a license to export the weapon parts into Mexico.
U.S. Chief District Judge Randy Crane will impose sentencing July 13. At that time, Maldonado-Guillen faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose A. Garcia is prosecuting the case.