SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three men admitted in federal court in San Diego Thursday to conspiring to smuggle ammunition and guns, including military-style assault rifles, into Mexico.
Jesus Albino Hernandez, 24, Jose Luis Mendoza-Valenzuela, 21, and Francisco Rodriguez Jr., 27, entered their guilty pleas during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill Burkhardt.
The defendants conceded that in 2013 and 2014, they and others arranged for firearms - including AK-47s, AR-15s and .50-caliber belt-fed machine guns - to be transported to Mexico via Southern California ports of entry by hiding them in speaker boxes placed inside vehicles.
Law enforcement officers found and seized all the weapons before they made it across the border, prosecutors said.
As part of their plea agreements, Hernandez, Mendoza-Valenzuela and Rodriguez agreed to forfeit all the guns impounded from them, along with more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
The defendants also admitted to lying to licensed firearms dealers as part of their efforts to acquire the weapons. On one occasion, Rodrigue knowingly falsified a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form by claiming he was buying one of the .50-caliber guns for his own use, when in fact he intended to send it to Mexico.
Each defendant will face maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at their sentencing hearing, scheduled for Feb. 1.
A wildfire spread over hilly rural terrain east of Ramona Friday afternoon, threatening several back-country homes and destroying one of them before ground and airborne crews could subdue the flames.
A man was shot by Sheriff's Deputies Friday night after leading authorities in a high-speed pursuit that came to an end in Del Mar Heights.
Day two of Comic-Con has come and gone, but tens of thousands of people are still hitting the streets of downtown San Diego – pumping thousands of dollars into the local economy.
For years, Honor Flight San Diego has fulfilled its mission to fly San Diego’s war heroes to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to their service.
A 24-year-old woman was shot and killed Friday inside an Oceanside apartment building today and a person of interest was being questioned, according to police.
A 2-year-old girl is in the hospital Friday with serious injuries after she fell from a fourth-floor window at an apartment complex in San Diego's University City neighborhood, police said.
Improving surveillance camera technology is helping homeowners fight back against thieves. The latest cameras are delivering clear and multi-angle images that can lead straight to the suspects.
News 8 Sports Director, Kyle Kraska, spent a few hours with Padres all-time great Trevor Hoffman who is headed to Cooperstown to be inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.
Comic-con is famous for its crazy costumes, but sometimes those outrageous outfits fall apart at the worst time.