MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A former police academy recruit was sent to federal prison for attempting to export ammunition.
Pedro Cruz Almeida, 22 years old from Pharr, admitted to exporting .50 caliber tracer-equipped linked ammunition without a license to export, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
In early February, Border Patrol agents conducted a traffic stop on Almeida’s vehicle which carried 600 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.
Almeida told agents he intended to smuggle the ammunition to a person near a port of entry in exchange for money.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Almeida also admitted to ordering ammunition approximately 30 times over the past year.
During his hearing, the court heard additional evidence of Almeida’s involvement in smuggling while simultaneously attending the police academy.
“Almeida lived a double life,” Alamdar S. Hamdani, U.S. Attorney with the Southern District of Texas said.
The court also noted how Almeida knew the dangers of this type of ammunition in the hands of the cartel.
“While training to be a police officer, he attempted to smuggle hundreds of rounds of lethal ammunition into Mexico. That all changed with his arrest and conviction, trading a blue police uniform for a convict’s orange jumpsuit,” Hamdani said.
Previously released on bond, Almeida was taken into custody following his sentencing where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.