Mexican couple with 27,000 rounds of ammunition jailed

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 09, 2012 3:26 PM
Mexican couple with 27,000 rounds of ammunition jailed

By Jared Taylor

MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - A Mexican husband and wife were sentenced to prison terms of over two years each on Thursday after they admitted to possessing 27,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition destined for Mexico, where cross-border weapons smuggling has risen in recent years, the Attorney's Office said.

Abraham Garcia-Perguero, 38, was sentenced to 33 months while his common-law wife, Maria Isabel Rodriguez-Olivo, 36, got a 27-month term at a federal court hearing in Laredo, Texas, Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement.

The Mexican couple, both in the United States illegally, admitted to authorities that they knew the thousands of rounds of ammunition were headed to Mexico, Magidson said.

District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, in handing down the terms, said the defendants may consider themselves cogs in a larger system that funnels weapons into Mexico.

But "without cogs like you, people don't get killed," a Attorney's Office statement cited her as saying.

The couple told Laredo police they expected to be paid between $400 and $500 for picking up the ammunition from a local gun shop and delivering it to a person waiting outside a strip club, Magidson said.

Police seized 27 boxes of .223-caliber ammunition — commonly used in assault rifles — along with a box of handgun rounds and an extended magazine for a .40-caliber Glock pistol.

Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said his country's savage drug war, which has claimed more than 55,000 lives since 2007, will not cease until the United States takes control of illegally exported weapons used by drug cartels.

The president last month slammed gun laws as "mistaken" after a gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 others in Aurora, Colorado, and he urged lawmakers to reform America's gun control laws and stop letting weapons cross into Mexico.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)