BEAUMONT, Texas – A pair of Mexican
national brothers have pleaded guilty to firearms charges in the Eastern
District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
Julio Ceasar Martinez-Rivas, 43,
pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic firearms today before U.S. Magistrate
Judge Zack Hawthorn. His brother, 31-year-old Eric Martinez-Rivas,
pleaded guilty to the same charge on Sep. 5, 2018.
According to information presented in court, between March 2014 and March 2015,
the brothers operated a firearms trafficking organization from their apartment
in Houston, using money from Mexico to smuggle firearms from the United States
to Mexico. To acquire firearms, the Martinez-Rivas brothers recruited
co-conspirators from the Houston-area and used electronic money transfers from
co-conspirators in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico, to fund the scheme. The
brothers arranged for electronic money transfers to be sent directly to the
co-conspirators in the Houston area, who in turn used the money to purchase
high caliber firearms from licensed and unlicensed firearms dealers in the
Eastern District of Texas and elsewhere in the United States.
On June 17, 2015, the Martinez-Rivas brothers and five others were indicted by
a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas and charged with
conspiracy to traffic firearms. The five co-conspirators have previously
pleaded guilty and are serving federal prison sentences.
Under federal statutes, the defendants each face up to five years in federal
prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by
Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be
determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other
statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the
completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives, Department of Homeland Security–ICE, and the Houston Police
Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant
U.S. Attorneys John B. Ross and Randall L. Fluke.