Two brothers from Eagle Pass were sentenced Tuesday to federal prison in connection with a scheme to smuggle more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and hundreds of firearm magazines into the Republic of Mexico.
Richard Hesles, Jr., 34, and his brother Damien Hesles, 24, were sentences to 120 months and 110 months in federal prison.
The brothers pleaded guilty on Oct. 25, 2013, on one count of aiding and abetting the smuggling of goods from the United States.
While on surveillance at the Hesles Gun and Knife Store in Eagle Pass, Damien unloaded several boxes from his vehicle, which were loaded into another vehicle that began traveling toward the U.S.-Mexico border. When the driver of that vehicle noticed he was being followed, he discarded the boxes into a dumpster and fled the area.
Surveillance agents discovered 100 AR-15 assault rifle rear tactical sights and 100 AR-15 assault rifle front tactical sights. Investigators were able to determine that two Piedras Negras, Mexico, residents placed the order with Richard. Damien received the payment and shared with his brother.
Officials believe the rounds of ammunition were designed for use in various firearms, including AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles, as well as .50-caliber sniper rifles.
The defendants admitted that they procured ammunition, firearm magazines and firearm sights for individuals in Mexico from 2010 to 2012.
“Gun and drug trafficking fuels violence by criminal organizations domestically and abroad,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio. “HSI special agents will continue working jointly with our law enforcement partners and utilize our expertise in export enforcement to keep our citizens safe and secure.”
The brothers and the store owner made an agreement with the government to surrender their federal firearms license, and to no longer support or fund, directly or indirectly, any business venture which deals in any manner with the sale, trade or distribution of firearms, ammunition, magazines and/or components/accessories related to the firearms trade.
Damien has been ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and Richard has been ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.
Upon completion of the prison term, the brothers will both be placed under supervised release for a period of three years. In addition, the brothers have been ordered to pay monetary judgments in the amounts of $54,414 and $42,634, which represent the value of property involved or used to facilitate the defendants' scheme.