Flashback: Mexican Police Officer Sentenced to U.S. Federal Prison for Trying to Export Ammo to Mexico

By Edwin Mora | January 12, 2011 | 4:01 AM EST

A federal agent monitors the international border in Nogales, Ariz., on Thursday, April 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(CNSNews.com) – A Mexican police officer has been sentenced to 21 months in U.S. federal prison for attempting to unlawfully export 1,300 rounds of ammunition across the southwest border into Mexico, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A federal jury in Del Rio, Texas, on June 30, 2010, found Juan Gabriel Ruiz-Uitzil, a 32-year-old member of the Acuña, Mexico police force, guilty of two counts including unlawfully possessing ammunition and unlawfully attempting to export ammunition to Mexico, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas, which is part of DOJ.

On Dec. 20, 2010, Ruiz-Uitzil was sentenced to approximately two years in U.S. federal prison, revealed the Western Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office as it disclosed details surrounding the case.

According to evidence presented during trial, the attorney’s office stated, on July 2, 2009, the defendant used his border crossing card to come into the U.S. with the purpose of buying ammunition in Del Rio.

Using his personal debit card, the defendant purchased 1,200 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition and 100 round of 9mm ammunition from Russell’s True Value Hardware in Del Rio.

Ruiz-Uitzil claimed that he was simply planning to use the ammo for training officers at the Acuña police station.

However, federal prosecutors provided evidence indicating that in order to legally obtain ammunition, Mexican law enforcement must go through the Mexican military, not private gun dealers in the U.S.

Ruiz-Uitzil was caught after a salesman from the store in Del Rio where he bought the ammo warned an agent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the purchase.

The ICE agent went on to alert outbound inspectors at the U.S. entry port in Del Rio that the defendant may try to export ammunition to Mexico, a move that resulted in the arrest of Ruiz-Uitzil.

The investigation was conducted by agents from ICE and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) component of DHS.

U.S. Attorney Robert Brady Jr. served as the prosecutor representing the U.S. government in the case.