Salvadoran Man Sentenced for Helping Wife, Boyfriend Smuggle Guns, Ammo into Mexico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seize more than 8,000 rounds of 7.62x39 ammuni
File Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/El Paso Sector

A U.S. federal court sentenced a Salvadoran man to nearly four years in prison for his role in helping his wife and her boyfriend smuggle weapons and ammunition into Mexico. In one of the smuggling attempts, the group tried to send more than 13,000 rounds of ammunition across the Texas-Mexico.

Juan Jose Roque, age 36, went before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez in McAllen, Texas, who sentenced him to three years and ten months in federal prison on arms and ammunition smuggling charges. Roque pleaded guilty to the charges on April 29. Since he is in the country illegally, Roque faces deportation upon completion of his incarceration.

The case began on December 17, 2020, when federal authorities arrested 25-year-old Juan Marvin Garcia as he drove to the border in a vehicle loaded with more than 13,000 rounds of ammunition for AK-47-style rifles. The vehicle also contained other types of ammunition and a handgun, the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas revealed. A federal judge sentenced Garcia to three years in prison.

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) learned that Garcia was working under orders of his girlfriend, 44-year-old Brendalit Hernandez, who told him to drive from the Dallas area to Hidalgo, Texas, where he would park the vehicle loaded with ammunition. Hernandez instructed him to call someone in Mexico about the vehicle’s location. From there, Garcia was to ride a bus to his home in Garland, Texas. In June 2021, agents arrested Hernandez for her role as the leader of a gun and ammo smuggling organization. Her sentencing date is scheduled for later this month.

Months later, HSI agents stopped Roque and questioned him about his wife’s arrest. Roque told agents that he would purchase ammunition and weapons for himself and for his wife’s smuggling organization. The man said he also assisted in concealing the items in vehicles that would be sent to Mexico.

Luisana Moreno is a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.


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