Brownsville resident sentenced to prison for attempting to export ammunition

Local News

A 53-year-old resident alien from Mexico who resided in Brownsville, has been ordered to federal prison following her conviction of attempting to export 3,500 rounds of ammunition and one AK-47 rifle, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Rosa Maria Melendez-Jimenez was convicted in May 2015, following a three-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation. 

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, who presided over the trial, handed Melendez-Jimenez a total sentence of 78 months in federal prison. Melendez-Jimenez is expected to face deportation proceedings following her release from prison.

During trial, the jury heard that law enforcement suspected that a possible unlawful exportation of ammunition was going to occur at the Gateway International Bridge. Investigators conducted surveillance there and stopped Pedro Ramirez-Aguirre who was in possession of a dolly loaded with two black duffle bags. The bags were found to contain a total of 2,500 rounds of 7.62 x 39 mm caliber ammunition, 1,000 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, one AK-47 rifle, one large capacity .223 rifle magazine, two 7.62 x 39 mm rifle magazines and tactical gear.

Law enforcement followed the vehicle that dropped Ramirez-Aguirre off at the bridge which led them to the home of Melendez-Jimenez. The investigation continued and agents soon recovered a third duffle bag in the alley behind her home. That bag was found to contain 2,500 rounds of 7.62 x 39 mm caliber ammunition. 

Melendez-Jimenez admitted she had received all three bags with the intent of delivering them to Ramirez-Aguirre for unlawful exportation to Mexico. 

Melendez-Jimenez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Israel Cano III and David Coronado are prosecuting the case.

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