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.
Animal-loving celebrities were getting ready Wednesday night for a big benefit concert to help trainers and their horses displaced by the Lilac Fire.
A water line broke Wednesday morning in a hilly neighborhood on the border of San Diego and Mountain View, flooding several nearby homes and opening a large sink hole that partially swallowed a pickup truck.
A three-vehicle pileup at an intersection near Lawrence Welk Resort Village left one person dead and four others injured Wednesday.
A serviceman stabbed to death this week at Camp Pendleton was identified Wednesday as a Wisconsin native who joined the Marine Corps last summer, shortly after graduating from high school.
Circus Vargas is back for another year, but this circus doesn't use animals. Instead it is non-stop entertainment with trapeze artists, acrobats, stunt devils and more.
Jan. 1, for many, was the first day of a new diet and workout routine but are you still sticking to it?
A transient who bumped a 60-year-old pedestrian with a shopping cart in the East Village, then attacked the victim with an umbrella, gouged one of his eyes and bit off part of his nose, was sentenced Thursday to four years in state prison.