New Mexico woman sentenced to more than four years in prison for conspiracy to smuggle firearms into Mexico | USAO-WDTX

EL PASO — A New Mexico woman was sentenced Wednesday to 50 months in prison for involvement in a scheme to purchase firearms in west Texas and southern New Mexico and then export them to Mexico.

According to court documents, Carmen Gallegos, aka Carmen Salazar-Andujo, of Hobbs, New Mexico, participated in a conspiracy to purchase at least 23 firearms over a two-month period and then illegally smuggle them from the United States to Mexico. Between September 2, 2021 and October 29, 2021, Gallegos had a Texas address listed in at least three separate firearm transaction records while in the Western District of Texas when she was actually residing in New Mexico.

Gallegos was arrested at the Ysleta Port of Entry on October 31, 2021 while returning from a visit to Mexico. Investigators were able to determine that Gallegos had provided false information to a federal firearms licensee in order to obtain firearms and had gathered further evidence that she frequently purchased firearms with the intention of smuggling them into Mexico. Gallegos admitted during her arrest that she had been paid $538 the day before for smuggling three firearms into Mexico. On June 20, 2022, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods out of the United States.

“Falsifying federal documents related to the purchase of firearms is a serious misdemeanor,” said US Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “Thanks to our agency partners, who continue to prevent firearms from crossing the border, we have been able to adequately prosecute and end Gallegos’ short-lived role as smugglers.”

“Preventing firearms and ammunition from getting into the hands of transnational criminal organizations is one of HSI’s top enforcement priorities,” said Francisco B. Burrola, acting special agent for HSI El Paso. “Our border is safer today because another arms dealer is behind bars. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to address threats to public safety posed by members of these criminal networks.”

“This case is a stark reminder of the ATF’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to stop the illicit flow of firearms into Mexico and disrupt the firearms dealers responsible,” said Acting Special Agent Jamey VanVliet, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Dallas Field Division.

Homeland Security Investigations and ATF investigated the case.

Assistant US Attorneys Gregory McDonald, Ellen Denum and former Assistant US Attorney Kristal Wade prosecuted the case.