RGC mother, daughter plead guilty to smuggling charges

Third woman also scheduled for sentencing in connection with case

McALLEN — A mother and daughter accused of organizing the movement of more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico pleaded guilty to federal smuggling charges, court records show.

Edna Yaritza Zamarripa and her mother, Consuelo Teresita Ramirez Zamarripa, stood before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez Nov. 28 and each pleaded guilty to a smuggling goods charge, court documents show.

The 25-year-old Rio Grande City resident and her 48-year-old mother, along with a third woman, Sonia Sussette Lucio, were accused of conspiring with each other to export more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition from the U.S. into Mexico.

Zamarripa is accused of recruiting Lucio, 22, also of Rio Grande City, to help her export ammo from the United States into Mexico.

Lucio, who is free on a $30,000 bond, pleaded guilty to the same charge in Nov. 2017, court documents show. She is due for sentencing Jan. 8.

Federal agents began investigating the trio’s conspiracy in 2017 — when Lucio was arrested while attempting to export thousands of rounds of ammunition into Mexico through the Rio Grande City port of entry.

On Sept. 5, 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agents were conducting surveillance at a sporting goods store in Edinburg and came across Lucio and Ramirez Zamarripa, who were purchasing “a significant amount of ammunition,” according to the complaint.

“HSI agents observed Lucio and Consuelo Zamarripa load the ammunition into a black Chrysler 300 and observed them depart from the sporting goods store to Consuelo Zamarripa’s residence in Rio Grande City, Texas,” the complaint stated.

After dropping off Consuelo at her residence, Lucio headed toward the Rio Grande City port of entry and attempted to cross into Mexico.

HSI agents contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working the port and advised them Lucio’s vehicle was loaded with ammunition.

CBP officers inspected Lucio’s vehicle and found more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition hidden within a speakerbox in the back of the vehicle.

During an interview with federal agents, Lucio admitted her role in the movement of ammo and implicated Edna Zamarripa as the person who recruited her in the scheme.

Less than a year later, in June of this year, HSI agents interviewed Edna and Consuelo Zamarripa at their Rio Grande City residence.

During the interview, Edna admitted to moving ammunition into Mexico on past instances, and at least on one occasion, she told agents she procured a semi-automatic weapon for a person in Mexico, the complaint stated.

“Edna Zamarripa admitted to recruiting Lucio to procure and illegally export ammunition from the United States into Mexico,” the court record shows.

Zamarripa, who was denied bond in August of this year, will remain in custody pending her sentencing hearing, scheduled for Feb. 14.

Her mother will remain free on a $30,000 bond pending her sentencing, also set for Feb. 14, court records show.

All three women are United States citizens.