Three admit to firearms felonies | USAO-SDTX

McALLEN, Texas – Following the guilty pleas of three today, four local residents have now been convicted for knowingly making false statements in connection with firearms purchases from a local federally licensed dealer, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Mario Fierro, 40, Pharr, admitted to recruiting Juan Angel Hernandez, Becky Lynn Villasenor and Felipe Tudon Jr. to purchase firearms from Rio Grande Valley firearms dealers. The weapons would then be smuggled into Mexico.

Hernandez, 35, San Juan, and Villasenor, 32, Harlingen, admitted in court today to making a materially false statement in connection with the purchase of firearms. Tudon 35, also of San Juan, previously pleaded guilty Sept. 4.

Villasenor acknowledged the purchase of a Beretta 9mm pistol and a 5.7x28mm caliber pistol at Fierro’s direction. She made materially false statements to the firearms dealer to secure the sale.

As part of his plea, Hernandez admitted Fierro hired him to recruit others. He then had Tudon make a materially false statement while purchasing a 5.7x28mm caliber firearm from a federally licensed dealer.

The investigation began in June 2019.

Tudon is set for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane Nov. 17, while the three who pleaded today will be sentenced Jan. 13, 2021. Each faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Tudon was permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing. Fierro, Hernandez and Villasenor have been and will remain in custody pending their hearings.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frances Blake Land and Kristina Pekkala are prosecuting the case.

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