EL PASO – Edwin Alejandro Rodriguez, 21, pleaded guilty this week and Martin Najera, 30, pleaded guilty last week to buying firearms and then smuggling them to Mexico. Both are U.S. citizens living in Mexico.
According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an investigation in April 2022 into reports that Rodriguez and Najera were purchasing firearms and exporting them to Mexico. Agents from HSI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were able to identify approximately 31 firearms that were bought by the pair and then transported to Mexico.
Rodriguez and Najera pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States. Sentencing for both defendants is expected in December. The defendants face up to five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas; HSI Special Agent in Charge Frank Burrola, El Paso Division; and ATF Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek II, Dallas Division, made the announcement.
HSI and ATF are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Denum is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.