68-year-old man convicted of firearms and ammunition trafficking | South Texas

McALLEN, Texas — A 68-year-old Guadalajara, Mexico, resident was convicted of attempting to smuggle several firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition on the roof of a vehicle, U.S. Attorney Alamdar announced S.Hamdani.

Jose De Jesus Pena Dieguez pleaded guilty on March 27. Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now ordered Dieguez to serve 24 months in federal prison, immediately followed by three years of supervised release. During the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Dieguez had previously exported firearms to Mexico on several occasions.

On January 11, Dieguez attempted to enter Mexico through the Progreso port of entry in a Nissan Xterra. During inspection, authorities noticed tampering with the screws of a compartment connected to the vehicle’s roof rack. An x-ray examination also revealed abnormalities within the compartment. A subsequent search revealed 16 firearms, 31 firearm magazines, assorted firearm parts and 800 rounds of ammunition.

Dieguez admitted to purchasing the firearms and intending to export them illegally to Mexico. He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, which will be determined soon.

Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Customs and Border Protection conducted the joint investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Cahal P. McColgan prosecuted the case under the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program.

In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new effort to reduce violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its root. Integral to this effort was the reinvigoration of PSN, a twenty-year-old evidence-based, community-driven program focused on reducing violent crime. The updated PSN approach, outlined in the department’s Comprehensive Violent Crime Reduction Strategy, is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community organizations that help prevent violence, establishing targeted and strategic application priorities and measure the results of our efforts. The fundamental goal is to reduce violent crime, not simply increase the number of arrests or prosecutions.