MCALLEN, Texas – A woman who ran a gun store on the Texas border will spend five years in prison for selling weapons to people she believed to be Gulf Cartel members.
Crystal Espinoza, a 31-year-old woman from the border city of San Juan, went before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez on Thursday morning where she received a 60 month prison sentence for her role in the straw purchasing of weapons.
Espinoza had previously been convicted of lying in federal documents to assist with straw purchasing. This followed a three-day trial and six hours of deliberation in May, information released by the U.S Attorney’s office revealed.
Evidence during that trial showed that, in the summer of 2013, Espinoza was the manager of a gun store called Brothers N Arms in Alamo. Various weapons that had been recovered in Mexico had been traced back to that store.
It was after that, that agents with U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, working with Homeland Security Investigations, set up an undercover operation where they sent agents to purchase four semi-automatic weapons from Espinoza, information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed. The agents that went to purchase the weapons did not have proper identifications. Despite not having the required identification, Espinoza sold the weapons anyways.
A witness in the trial had testified that he had purchased between 20-30 weapons that had been smuggled into Mexico into the hands of the Gulf Cartel. The witness who was also convicted on weapons charges said that Espinoza knew that the weapons were destined for the Gulf Cartel.
Espinoza had been out on a $30,000 bond until the time of her sentencing at which time she was taken into custody and turned over to the U.S Bureau of Prisons.