McAllen gunrunner sentenced to nearly 4 years

McALLEN — A McAllen man involved in a scheme to transport high-capacity weapons into Mexico will spend more than three years in prison for the crime, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Mauricio Martell to a 46-month prison sentence Tuesday for his role in purchasing weapons headed to Mexico.

Weapons and ammunition, like the ones involved in this case, purchased legally and illegally in the U.S. are often smuggled into Mexico and end up in the hands of criminals, exacerbating the violence perpetrated by drug cartel organizations as a result of the drug trade.

In July 2019, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents arrested Martell, 21, and Alberto Garcia, in Pharr. At the time, they were in possession of two firearms, a Bushmaster “XM15-E2S,” multi-caliber rifle, and a 50-caliber rifle, records show.

During their subsequent interview with federal agents, Martell and Garcia admitted to buying the firearms at the behest of an unknown man in Mexico.

“Garcia and Martell stated the firearms were going to be given to an individual that would smuggle the firearms into Mexico,” the complaint against the men read.

The pair also admitted they bought firearms bound for Mexico on multiple occasions.

Martell pleaded guilty to federal smuggling charges in October 2019, records show.

In addition to the 46-month prison sentence, Martell will also be required to serve a three-year supervised release term upon completion of the prison term.

Garcia, 20, of Alton, also pleaded guilty in October and is free on a $50,000 bond. He is currently scheduled for sentencing Feb. 13, records show.