A federal jury in Del Rio, Texas, convicted an American citizen who had been living in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, on charges of attempting to smuggle firearms and ammunition into that country.
The conviction was handed down in the Western District of Texas on Wednesday afternoon. Eduardo Hinojosa, 48, and his co-conspirators have all been convicted in the charges stemming from an arrest in April 2015, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Department of Justice spokesman Daryl Fields.
Maverick County Sheriff’s Office deputies observed Hinojosa loading firearms and ammunition into a Ford Explorer at an Eagle Pass business owned by his co-conspirator, Carlo Mendoza-Hernandez, information obtained from the criminal complaint revealed. Co-conspirators Gily Natividad and Ajin Cordova drove away in the Explorer and was later stopped for a traffic violation by the deputies. A female passenger, Elizabeth Cervantes-Mateos, gave deputies permission to search the vehicle. Both of these co-conspirators are Mexican nationals, according to court records.
A search of the vehicle revealed a Winchester 243 rifle, a Baretta 12 gauge shotgun and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in various calibers.
Hinojosa was later observed driving a white Dodge Ram and was stopped by deputies for running a red light at a Walmart entrance in Eagle Pass. Agents from Homeland Security Investigations responded to the scene and questioned Hinojosa about the warehouse where he was observed unloading boxes earlier in the evening. He eventually waived his rights and admitted to dropping off ammunition at the warehouse, court records stated.
While this was happening, co-conspirator Mendoza was observed attempting to cross the border into Piedras Negras. He was stopped and questioned by investigators. Mendoza later admitted that he knew about the weapons being smuggled and that he had arranged for a buyer in Mexico.
All of the defendants admitted to knowing it was illegal to take weapons and ammunition into Mexico from the United States.
Hinojosa was convicted of four counts of aiding and abetting the smuggling of goods from the U.S. and one count of providing a firearm to a prohibited person. DOJ officials stated that each charge carries a possible 10-year prison sentence. Sentencing hearings before U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio are scheduled as follows: Cervantes – 2:00pm on December 8, 2016; Mendoza – 11:00am on December 12, 2016; Ajin – 11:00am on February 1, 2017; and, Hinojosa – 2:00pm on March 20, 2017.