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Man pleads guilty after attempting to smuggle a dozen rifles into Mexico

A judge advocate office gavel. (Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/U.S. Air Force)

A man accused of smuggling seven military-grade rifles into Matamoros pleaded guilty to one of the charges filed against him in federal court in Brownsville on Tuesday.

Dimas Torres-Rodriguez was charged on April 2 in a three-count indictment accusing him of facilitating, transporting, concealing, and selling five 7.62 caliber AK type rifles, two 5.56 caliber AR type rifles, four 30 round 7.62 caliber magazines, and two 30 round 5.56 caliber magazines.

On Tuesday, Torres-Rodriguez was re-arraigned and pleaded guilty to count three of the indictment, charging him with intending to smuggle the weapons into Mexico. He was continued on bond and will be sentenced on May 12.

A criminal complaint filed in the case stated that on March 9, 2019, HSI special agents received a tip regarding a suspicious firearms purchase at the SAXET gun show in McAllen on March 9. The agents observed a man who was later identified as Torres purchase “approximately eight firearms” and commenced surveillance on Torres at his residence in Brownsville, authorities said.

When Torres attempted to cross the rifles to Mexico via the B&M Port of Entry, authorities found them in the cavity of his Dodge Pickup truck’s tail light, according to the complaint.

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The document stated that Torres failed to declare the items. Officers located the rifles and ammunition in a “non-factory compartment” behind the vehicle’s tail lights and also underneath the truck’s plastic bed liner.

Torres was questioned and admitted to HSI special agents that he had been promised $600 in payment to deliver the firearms to an individual in Matamoros, according to authorities.

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© 2020 The Brownsville Herald