Smuggling AR-15 Parts to Mexico – Hesles Sentenced

Ammunition to Mexico – DDTC On January 28, 2014, in the Western District of Texas, Richard Hesles, Jr., and his brother, Damien Hesles were sentenced to 120 months and 110 months in federal prison, respectively,

In connection with a scheme to smuggle over 6,000 rounds of ammunition and hundreds of firearm magazines into the Republic of Mexico. In addition to the prison term, Richard Hesles was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and to be placed under supervised release for a period of three years; Damien Hesles was order to pay a $5,000 fine and to be placed under supervised release for a period of three years. Richard Hesles, Jr. and Damien Hesles were also ordered to pay monetary judgments in the amount of $54,414 and $42,634, respectively.  AR-15 parts were among the items they planned to smuggle to Mexico.  AR-15 Gun Parts are considered export controlled.

On October 25, 2013, the defendants pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the smuggling of goods from the United States. According to the factual basis in this case, while under surveillance at the Hesles Gun and Knife Store in Eagle Pass, TX, on February 17, 2012, Damien Hesles unloaded several boxes from his vehicle. Those boxes were subsequently loaded into another vehicle which began traveling towards the U.S.-Mexico border. When the driver of that vehicle noticed he was being followed, he stopped the vehicle and discarded the boxes inside a dumpster, then fled the area. Inside the boxes, surveillance agents discovered U.S. defense articles, namely 100 AR-15 assault rifle rear tactical sights and 100 AR-15 assault rifle front tactical sights. Investigators were able to determine that Piedras Negras, Mexico residents Oliver Bres-Carranza and Erik Alan Garza had spoken to Richard Hesles, Jr., and placed the order for the AR-15 sights. Damien Hesles received payment from Bres-Carranza and Garza for the sights and then shared the money with his brother.

Authorities estimate that the brothers aided and abetted the exportation or attempted exportation of over 6,000 rounds of ammunition designed for use in various firearms, including AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles as well as .50 caliber sniper rifles; over 300 assault rifle magazines and more than 60 magazines for other types of firearms; and, firearm sights.

The factual basis, which the defendants admitted was accurate, stated that the brothers procured ammunition, firearm magazines and firearm sights for individuals in Mexico from 2010 until 2012 and that Richard Hesles, Jr., knew that the items were going to Los Zetas Cartel operatives in Mexico. The brothers, along with the store owner, have entered into an agreement with the Government to surrender their Federal Firearms License and to no longer support or fund, directly or indirectly, any business or venture which deals in any manner with the sale, trade or distribution of firearms, ammunition, magazines and/or components/accessories related to the firearms trade. Bres-Carranza, Garza and Rolando Tamayo were charged under a separate indictment in the Western District of Texas. The case was investigated by HSI and ATF.

More can be found at the DDTC Website.

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