The last of four men convicted of unlawfully buying 37 high-powered assault rifles to sell in Mexico was sentenced to prison Friday, Nevada U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden said.
U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson sentenced Christian Romero, 20, to three years behind bars and three years of supervised release for his guilty plea to two counts of illegal acquisition of a firearm.
Romero; his brother, Marcos Romero, 22; their father, Abel Romero, 38; and a fourth man, Arnold Gutierrez, 24; were charged in August 2010 with illegally obtaining the assault rifles from licensed firearms dealers in Las Vegas. The Romeros were all Mexican nationals living here unlawfully.
Several of the assault rifles were recovered in the summer of 2010 at a compound in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, which was used by a criminal organization involved in narcotics trafficking, Bogden said in a news release.
Marcos and Abel Romero and Gutierrez also pleaded guilty to illegally acquiring firearms and were sentenced in July to 40 months, 46 months and 15 months in prison, respectively.
“The Romero brothers will no longer illegally traffic firearms to Mexico and provide the tools that perpetuate the violence committed by deadly drug cartels,” said Stephen C. Herkins, special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Las Vegas.
“This is another victory for ATF and our law enforcement partners in combating violent crime.”
Court records showed that the Romeros paid Gutierrez to obtain the weapons from local gun stores because, as illegal immigrants, they were prohibited from buying weapons in the United States.
“This practice of using a straw purchaser to obtain guns is illegal, and the guns typically end up in the hands of criminals,” Bogden said. “We will prosecute the persons who are involved in this sort of illegal activity, and the penalties are severe.”
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