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Texas Woman Heads to Prison for Trying to Smuggle Over 3,500 Rounds of Ammunition Into Mexico 

U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

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A 52-year-old resident of Channelview has been sentenced for attempting to smuggle thousands of rounds of ammunition in spare tire, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. Image for illustration purposes
A 52-year-old resident of Channelview has been sentenced for attempting to smuggle thousands of rounds of ammunition in spare tire, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. Image for illustration purposes
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U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas – A 52-year-old resident of Channelview has been sentenced for attempting to smuggle thousands of rounds of ammunition in spare tire, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Maria Tapia-Aguilar pleaded guilty Feb. 28, 2022.

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Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now ordered Tapia-Aguilar to serve 51 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.

On Nov. 6, 2019, law enforcement observed Tapia-Aguilar purchasing large amounts of ammunition at a local Edinburg store. Afterwards, she engaged in strange driving behavior and committed a traffic violation. Authorities then conducted a traffic stop which resulted the discovery of ammunition hidden in the vehicle’s spare tire.

Tapia-Aguilar admitted to possessing 3,580 rounds of ammunition, including seven different calibers, for transport to Mexico. She also informed law enforcement that this was not the first time she exported ammunition to Mexico.

Tapia-Aguilar as permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Texas Department of Public Safety.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cahal P. McColgan prosecuted the case as part of the joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program. In May 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new effort to reduce violent crime, including the gun violence that is often at its core. Integral to that effort was the reinvigoration of PSN, a two-decade old, evidence-based and community-oriented program focused on reducing violent crime. The updated PSN approach, outlined in the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime is guided by four key principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results of our efforts. The fundamental goal is to reduce violent crime, not simply to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions.  

Updated April 25, 2024

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