Brownsville man granted bond in grenade launcher case

McALLEN — A Brownsville man accused of attempting to smuggle a grenade launcher into Mexico was granted bond Thursday.

Miguel Angel Gutierrez appeared Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby for the continuation of his bond hearing.

The hearing is related to Gutierrez’s May 21 arrest after he allegedly attempted to smuggle a grenade launcher barrel into Mexico the day before. He has been in custody since his arrest.

During the hearing, the government conveyed its opposition to the court granting Gutierrez a bond, but the court said it would consider additional information before determining whether to grant said bond.

There was discussion during the hearing about Gutierrez’s true place of residence, whether it was in Brownsville, or Houston, and whether or not relatives of Gutierrez were “willing to put up significant security” as it relates to the man’s bond.

On Thursday, Ormsby agreed with the 23-year-old’s counsel, and set his bond at $100,000, with a deposit of $2,500.

Ormsby also ordered Gutierrez live with his aunt and uncle in Houston, pending the conclusion of his case.

Gutierrez is one of two people alleged to have played a role in an attempt to take the barrel of a grenade launcher and smuggle it into Mexico.

The second defendant, Jose Martin Carmona-Gonzalez, 45, also of Brownsville, made his initial appearance in federal court May 24, a day after court records show he was arrested.

Just last week, Carmona pleaded not guilty to three counts of registration and licensing requirement, and remains in custody without bond. His trial is set for Aug. 7, court records show.

Gutierrez also pleaded not guilty to the same three counts of registration and licensing requirements, court records show.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Gutierrez and Carmona in connection with a firearms trafficking investigation conducted by agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

In May, HSI agents, as part of ongoing investigation, seized a M203 launcher barrel in Brownsville from an unnamed individual — later identified as Carmona — who told agents that the barrel was supposed to be smuggled into Mexico.

A meeting was scheduled with the understanding that an unnamed person in Mexico was going to send someone, later identified as Gutierrez, to pick up the launcher.

The launcher was repackaged and handed to Gutierrez in Brownsville.

CBP officers working the port of entry in Brownsville approached Gutierrez and detained him.

During his interview with authorities, Gutierrez told them that he had been recruited by an unnamed co-conspirator in Mexico to smuggle a tube used for launching grenades.

Gutierrez told authorities he knew it was illegal to smuggle the grenade launcher tube into Mexico, the complaint states.

lzazueta@themonitor.com

This report was updated to correctly reflect Gutierrez’s age.