Brownsville man pleads guilty for role in ammo smuggling scheme

McALLEN — A Brownsville man pleaded guilty for his part in a scheme to smuggle several thousand of rounds of ammunition into Mexico, court records show.

Ruben Beltran-Ramos stood before U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to a federal charge of moving goods inside the United States as part of a scheme that was designed to eventually move 5,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico.

The 48-year-old Mexican-born permanent legal resident was arrested in June after a traffic stop initiated by a Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy near Mercedes.

The stop, which was made at the behest of U.S. Homeland Security Investigation agents, was moments after the agents watched as Beltran-Ramos picked up 5,000 rounds of ammunition commonly used in AK-47 assault rifles at a gun store in Edinburg, according to the complaint.

“Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives special agents were conducting surveillance at a local Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). (Special Agents) observed an individual later identified as (Beltran-Ramos), taking possession of a large order of ammunition and placing the ammunition into his vehicle,” the complaint states.

During the traffic stop, Beltran-Ramos admitted to having ammunition in his vehicle and gave the deputy permission to search the vehicle.

Beltran-Ramos later admitted to HSI and ATF agents that he was headed to a storage room in Brownsville, where he intended to leave the ammunition. From there, another person, who was not identified, would then take the ammunition into Mexico, the complaint shows.

“(Beltran-Ramos) stated that he knew it was illegal to take ammunition into Mexico,” the court records show.

Despite knowing it was illegal, Beltran-Ramos stated he was to be paid $400 to take the ammunition to Brownsville, court records show.

Beltran-Ramos, who has been in custody since his arrest in late June, was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals service and will remain in custody until his scheduled sentencing date of Nov. 20.