EL PASO, Texas – A Mexican national pleaded guilty in a federal court in El Paso to conspiring to traffick firearms while residing in the United States illegally following prior deportation.
According to court documents, on Jan. 25, Erick Arenas Pascual, 22, of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, drove a co-defendant to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in El Paso, where the co-defendant purchased a handgun. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested the two defendants as they left the FFL and discovered a second recently purchased handgun with 100 rounds of ammunition in Pascual’s vehicle.
An investigation revealed that Pascual planned to and had previously delivered firearms to individuals who would smuggle firearms into Mexico. It was further determined, through Department of Homeland Security records, that Pascual was a non-U.S. citizen and had been previously removed through El Paso in August 2020.
Pascual pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffick firearms and one count of illegal re-entry. He faces up to 15 years in prison for the conspiracy charge and up to two years in prison for the illegal re-entry charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek II for the ATF Dallas Field Division made the announcement.
The ATF is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Juan Albino and Nallely Barbosa are prosecuting the case.