McALLEN — A Kingsville man pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful transport of a firearm Wednesday after a traffic stop led to the discovery of more than 10 assault-type rifles in his possession, court records show.
Jose Maria Serna pleaded guilty to the firearm charge as part of an agreement with the government. Prosecutors agreed, in exchange, to dismiss the remaining transport and smuggling goods charges, according to the court document.
The 41-year-old man was arrested in April after a deputy with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office pulled him over for a traffic stop near Farm-to-Market 490 West of Wallace Road, in Edinburg.
The deputy approached the man’s vehicle, at which time Serna declared he was a convicted felon, the complaint filed against Serna states.
“During the traffic stop, Serna informed the deputy that he was a convicted felon and the deputy observed a bag in the vehicle’s backseat.
When the deputy asked Serna what was inside the bag, Serna stated it was full of assault rifles.
In total, the deputy found 10 AR-15 “style rifles,” two P90 “style rifles,” and multiple magazines of ammunition, the complaint states.
According to public records, Serna has prior misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 2007, when he was convicted of a burglary of habitation charge after he pleaded guilty.
In addition to the second degree felony, which he was sentenced to 10 years for, Serna was also convicted of misdemeanors in 2002 and 2003.
During his interview after his arrest, Serna admitted that he was on his way to deliver the assault weapons to an “unnamed co-conspirator,” who was then going to smuggle the weapons into Mexico.
“Serna stated that on a previous occasion, Serna had delivered 10 AR-15 style rifles, along with magazines and ammunition, to the unnamed co-conspirator who provided Serna with $10,000 USD, which Serna used to purchase the firearms found in his possession,” the complaint states.
Serna, who has been in custody since his arrest on April 10, is set for sentencing Sept. 13, when he could face a minimum of five years in prison.