Edinburg man set for sentencing in firearms trafficking case

McALLEN — A 51-year-old man faces significant prison time for his role in connection with a weapons smuggling case, court records show.

Carlos Antonio Zamarron-Luna is scheduled to stand before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane Wednesday for a sentencing hearing related to two federal charges of attempted exportation of arms and munitions, and penalties for firearms, according to court notes.

Zamarron-Luna, originally a citizen of Mexico with permanent legal status, was arrested in late May after he spoke with agents in April from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, according to the previously sealed criminal complaint filed against him.

According to the record, that interview was precipitated by information received by HSI and ATF agents that Zamarron-Luna “had purchased several firearms indicative of potential exportation of controlled munitions violations, to wit, firearms from the United States into Mexico without a lawful license.”

During the interview, the Edinburg resident told agents he did not have a license to export firearms from the U.S., “nor has he applied for a license with the U.S. government to export firearms,” the court record states.

He then admitted to smuggling firearms over the course of eight years, from October 2009 to about November 2017, the record shows, further noting, “Zamarron stated between October 2009 and November 2017 he had purchased approximately 18 firearms, including rifles, shotguns and pistols. Zamarron stated of those 18 firearms, he exported 14 firearms from the United States into Mexico without a license to export firearms.”

He also provided federal agents a detailed account of how he would go about smuggling the guns.

Zamarron-Luna said after buying a firearm, he would disassemble it, then hide it within his vehicle, before driving through a port of entry, and entering Mexico, the complaint states.

“Zamarron stated he read and understood the firearm possession warning signs posted before the (port of entry), having routinely crossed between the United States and Mexico for more than 20 years,” the record states.

He said he would then register some of the firearms with the secretary for the Mexican Office for National Defence, or “sell the firearm to someone within his hunting club.”

Court records show agents identified at least five instances in which Zamarron-Luna smuggled weapons into Mexico and had registered them: Oct. 25, 2009, he smuggled and eventually registered a Remington rifle; and on Feb. 3, 2011, he smuggled and registered a Beretta pistol, to name a few.

Zamarron-Luna, who pleaded guilty to two counts of the indictment against him in July, is represented by Miguel A. Nogueras, a federal assistant public defender for the U.S. government.