Mother, daughter sentenced in federal ammo case

A mother and daughter from Rio Grande City were sentenced for their roles in an attempt to transport more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition into Mexico received their sentence Wednesday, court records show.

U.S. District Judge sentenced Edna Yaritza Zamarripa and her mother, Consuelo Teresita Ramirez Zamarripa, to 46 and 37 months in prison, respectively, records show.

The mother-daughter duo pleaded guilty in December 2018 to federal smuggling charges in an effort to avoid a federal jury trial. In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss the remaining smuggling and transportation charges, records show.

Zamarripa, 26, and her 49-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 within the U.S. into Mexico. All three women are United States citizens.

Zamarripa was accused of recruiting Lucio, 23, also of Rio Grande City, to help her export ammo from the U.S. into Mexico.

Lucio, who was sentenced to time served in April of this year, remains on home confinement through April 2020, after which, she will be required to serve three years of supervised release, court documents state.

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 at 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 2018, 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 got a hold of 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, after the sentencing, was remanded into custody. She and her mother will be required to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of their prison terms.

Her mother, Consuelo, who has been free on a $30,000 bond, will remain free on bond pending a date for self-surrender.